Revision Check List
Subject, Purpose, Audience
- What's the most important thing I want to say about my subject?
- Who am I writing this paper for? What would my reader want to know about the subject? What does my reader already know?
- Why do I think the subject is worth writing about?
- What verb explains what I'm trying to do in this paper? (tell a story, compare X and Y, describe, explain)
- Does my first paragraph answer questions 1-4? If not, why not?
- How many specific points do I make about my subject? Did I overlap or repeat any points? Did I leave any points out or add some that aren't relevant to the main idea?
- How many paragraphs did I use to talk about each point?
- Why did I talk about them in this order? Should the order be changed?
- How did I get from one point to the next? What signposts did I give the reader?
Ask these questions about each paragraph.
- What job is this paragraph supposed to do? How does it relate to the paragraph before it and after it?
- What's the topic idea? Will my reader have trouble finding it?
- How many sentences did it take to develop the topic idea?
- Can I substitute better examples, reasons or details?
- How well does the paragraph hold together? When I read the paragraphs out loud, does it flow smoothly?
- How many levels of generality does it have?
- Are the sentences different lengths and types?
- Do I need transitions?
Ask these questions about each sentence.
- Which sentences do I like the most? the least?
- Can my reader "see" what I'm saying? What words could I substitute for abstractions like "people," "thing," "aspect?"
- Are there extra words in this sentence?
- Can I combine this sentence with another one?
- Can I add adjectives and adverbs or find a more lively verb?
Things to Check Last
- Did I check spelling and punctuation? What words do I usually misspell? What punctuation problems have I had in previous papers?
- How does my paper end? Did I keep the promises I made to my reader at the beginning of the paper?
- When I read the assignment again, do I find anything I missed?
- What do I like best about this paper? What do I need to work on in my next paper?