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Revise
Re-Visioning Your Essay

Revision means: to see again. Good writers are constantly looking for new ways to make their work better. Now that youíve written a first draft of your essay, itís time to look carefully at what youíve written to see what can be made better!

Read your paper five times, focusing each time on one of the areas listed below. Underline words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that need work. Make short notes in the margins and/or on a separate sheet of paper. It may be helpful to use a different colored pencil for each pass through your paper.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN?

  • What new thing(s) did you discover about your subject?
  • What facts or details did you accidentally leave out?
  • Which ideas need to be more developed?
  • What else do you want to know about your subject? Research!

WHAT DID YOU MEAN?

  • Does your essay always say what you meant it to say?
  • Is your main point clearly stated? Is the point of each paragraph clear?
  • Are there sections that need more explanation?
  • If you werenít the author, would you always understand the essay?

WHO IS YOUR READER?

  • Who is going to read your essay? Identify your audience.
  • Does your reader already know a lot about your topic or is new information?
  • Where might your reader be confused by your essay?
  • Will your reader always know what youíre talking about?

DID YOU BACK UP YOUR IDEAS?

  • Have you double-checked all of your facts?
  • Have you properly cited all of your sources?
  • Is there enough evidence to support your case?
  • Is everything in your essay accurate?

WHO IS SPEAKING?

  • What kind of voice do you hear when you read your essay?
  • Is the voice the same throughout your essay? (Good essays are often consistent.)
  • Does the voice always sound like you?
  • Read your essay aloud. Does it jump off the page? Where does it fall flat?

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