Return the essay and compare notes. After working so closely with a piece of writing, writers often need to step back and ask for a more objective reader. What writers need most is feedback from readers who can respond only to the words on the page.
When they are ready, writers show their drafts to someone they respect and who can give an honest response about its strengths and weaknesses. You, too, can ask a peer to read your draft when it is ready. Although you may be uncomfortable sharing your writing at first, remember that each writer is working toward the same goal: a final draft that fits the audience and the purpose. Maintaining a positive attitude when providing feedback will put you and your partner at ease. The box that follows provides a useful framework for the peer review session.
One of the reasons why word processing programs build in a reviewing feature is that work groups have become a common feature in many businesses. Remember to give positive feedback and to be courteous and polite in your responses. Focus on providing one positive comment and one question for more information to the author. The purpose of peer feedback is to receive constructive criticism of your essay. Your peer reviewer is your first real audience, and you have the opportunity to learn what confuses and delights a reader so that you can improve your work before sharing the final draft with a wider audience or your intended audience.
It may not be necessary to incorporate every recommendation your peer reviewer makes. However, if you start to observe a pattern in the responses you receive from peer reviewers, you might want to consider that feedback in future assignments. For example, if you read consistent comments about a need for more research, then you may want to consider including more research in future assignments.
You might get feedback from more than one reader as you share different stages of your revised draft. In this situation, you may receive feedback from readers who do not understand the assignment or who lack your involvement with and enthusiasm for it. Consider the feedback you received from the peer review and all of the revision exercises throughout this section. Compile a final draft of your revisions that you can use in the next section to complete your final edits. Given all the time and effort you have put into your research paper, you will want to make sure that your final draft represents your best work.
This requires taking the time to revise and edit your paper carefully. You may feel like you need a break from your paper before you edit it. That feeling is understandable, so you want to be sure to leave yourself enough time to complete this important stage of the writing process. This section presents a number of opportunities for you to focus on different aspects of the editing process; as with revising a draft, you should approach editing in different stages. Some of the content in this section may seem repetitive, but again, it provides you with a chance to double-check any revisions you have made at a detailed level.
If you have been incorporating each set of revisions as Mariah and Jorge have, you have produced multiple drafts of your writing. So far, all your changes have been content changes. Perhaps with the help of peer feedback, you have made sure that you sufficiently supported your ideas. You have checked for problems with unity and coherence. You have examined your essay for word choice, revising to cut unnecessary words and to replace weak wording with specific and appropriate wording.
The next step after revising the content is editing.
When you edit, you examine the surface features of your text. You examine your spelling, grammar, usage, and punctuation. You also make sure you use the proper format when creating your finished assignment. Editing takes time. Be sure to budget time into the writing process to complete additional edits after revising. Editing and proofreading your writing helps you create a finished work that represents your best efforts.
Here are a few more tips to remember about your readers:. Readers look past your sentences to get to your ideas—unless the sentences are awkward, poorly constructed, and frustrating to read. Readers will notice the care with which you handled your assignment and your attention to detail in the delivery of an error-free document.
Some writers are very methodical and painstaking when they write a first draft. Other writers unleash a lot of words in order to get out all that they feel they need to say. Do either of these methods match your style? Or is your composing style somewhere in between? No matter which description best fits you, the first draft of almost every piece of writing, no matter its author, can be made clearer and more concise. If you have a tendency to write too much, you will need to look for unnecessary words.
If you have a tendency to be vague or imprecise in your wording, you will need to find specific words to replace any overly general language. Sometimes writers use too many words when fewer words will appeal more to their audience and better fit their purpose. Here are some common examples of wordiness to look for in your draft. Eliminating wordiness helps all readers, because it makes your ideas clear, direct, and straightforward. Sentences with deadwood phrases that add little to the meaning. You can usually find a more straightforward way to state your point.
Sentences are clearer when the subject performs the action and is followed by a strong verb.
Avoid passive voice when you can. Most essays at the post-secondary level should be written in formal English suitable for an academic situation. Follow these principles to be sure that your word choice is appropriate. Avoid slang. Avoid language that is overly casual. A formal tone calls for formal language. Avoid contractions. Contractions are considered casual speech. Be careful when you use words that sound alike but have different meanings.
When in doubt, check a dictionary. Choose words with the connotations you want. Choosing a word for its connotations is as important in formal essay writing as it is in all kinds of writing. Use specific words rather than overly general words. Or use specific details to make your exact meaning clear. Now read the revisions Mariah made to make her third paragraph clearer and more concise. She has already incorporated the changes she made to improve unity and coherence. Read the unrevised and the revised paragraphs aloud. Do you agree with the changes that Mariah made to her paragraph? Which changes would you keep and which were unnecessary?
What other changes would you have made? How would you characterize the tone now? Now return once more to your essay in progress. Read carefully for problems with word choice. Be sure that your draft is written in formal language and that your word choice is specific and appropriate. R eturn once more to the first draft of the essay you have been revising. Check it for unnecessary words. Throughout this book, you have been presented with a number of tables containing transitional words.
There are three ways to join independent clauses. By using a mix of all three methods and varying your transition words, you will add complexity to your writing and improve the flow. You will also be emphasizing to your reader which ideas you want to connect or to show things like cause and effect or contrast. Option 1 By simply using a semicolon ; , you can make the ideas connect more than if you were to use a period.
If you are trying to reinforce that connection, use a semicolon because it is not as strong of a pause as a period and reinforces the link. Option 2 When you want to link two independent sentences and increase the flow between ideas, you can add a comma and a coordinating conjunction between them.
With coordinating conjunctions FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so , you do not use a comma every time: you would only do so if what is on either side of the conjunction is a complete sentence not just a phrase. You would not put a comma if you are only giving a list of two items.
For example:. No comma: It is cold outside. I wore an extra warm coat and gloves. The first example contains a complete sentence independent clause on either side of the conjunction so. Just the conjunction by itself or just a comma by itself is not strong enough to join two independent clauses. However, if you put the two together with so , you can link the two. In the second example, and is simply connecting two noun phrases: warm coat and gloves. What comes after the conjunction is not a complete sentence, so you would not add a comma.
The point of these examples was to show you that you have to be careful how you use commas and conjunctions. As easy as it would be to just always toss in a comma, doing so would confuse your reader as what is and is not part of a list and what ideas are joined. Option 3 Your third choice is to join two independent clauses with a conjunctive adverb or another transition word.
These words are very useful because they clearly show your reader how you would like your ideas to connect. If you wanted to emphasize contrasting ideas, you would use on the other hand or however. If you wanted to show cause and effect, you could use as a result. Refer to the tables you have seen in other chapters to make sure you are using the transitions you actually mean to be using; then, check Table After your first independent clause, you can choose to either use a period or a semicolon, again depending on how much of a link you want to show.
You may also want to consider how many long sentences you have used prior to this. If you use a lot of complicated sentences, you should probably use a period to allow your reader to take a break. You must also remember to include a comma after the transition word. Period: It is cold outside. Therefore, I wore an extra warm coat.
Semicolon: It is cold outside ; therefore, I wore an extra warm coat. If one of the clauses in a sentence is independent and can stand on its own, but the other is not, you have to construct the sentence a little differently.
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Whenever you add a subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun to an independent sentence, you create a dependent clause—one that can never stand alone. In the examples below, notice that when the independent clause comes first, it is strong enough to carry the dependent clause at the end without any helping punctuation.
However, if you want the dependent clause first, you must add a comma between it and the independent clause: the dependent clause is not strong enough to support the independent clause after without a little help. In the examples below, the independent clauses are double underlined and the dependent clause has a single underline. DEP first: As it is cold outside , I wore an extra warm coat.
If you want to start a sentence with Because , you need to make sure there is a second half to that sentence that is independent. A Because dependent clause can never stand by itself. At the bottom on Table These are relative pronouns, and when you use them, you need to ask yourself if the information is percent necessary for the reader to understand what you are describing.
If it is optional, you can include a comma before the relative clause even if it comes after the independent clause. Non — essential: As it is cold outside, I wore an extra warm coat , which was blue. Essential: My coat which is blue is the one I wear when it is really cold outside. In the non — essential example, the fact that the coat was warm was probably more important than that the coat was blue.
The information that the coat is blue probably would not make a difference in keeping the person warm, so the information in that relative clause is not terribly important. Adding the comma before the clause tells the reader it is extra information. In the essential example, the use of the same clause without a preceding comma shows that this information is important. The writer is implying he has other coats that are not as warm and are not blue, so he is emphasizing the importance of the blue coat.
These are the only five subordinators, or relative pronouns, for which you can do this; every other one needs to follow the previous explanation of how to use these dependent transition words. If you do decide to add a comma with one of the relative pronouns, you need to think critically about whether or not that description is completely essential. Using any of these sentence joining strategies is helpful in providing sentence variety to help your reader stay engaged and reading attentively.
By following these punctuation rules, you will also avoid creating sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and comma splices, all of which improves your end product. Given how much work you have put into your research paper, you will want to check for any errors that could distract or confuse your readers. Using the spell checking feature in your word processing program can be helpful, it should not replace a full, careful review of your document. Be sure to check for any errors that may have come up frequently for you in the past.
Be careful about relying too much on spelling checkers and grammar checkers. A grammar checker often queries constructions that are perfectly correct. The program does not understand your meaning; it makes its check against a general set of formulas that might not apply in each instance. If you use a grammar checker, accept the suggestions that make sense, but consider why the suggestions came up.
Proofreading requires patience; it is very easy to read past a mistake. Set your paper aside for at least a few hours, if not a day or more, so your mind will rest. Some professional proofreaders read a text backward so they can concentrate on spelling and punctuation.
Another helpful technique is to slowly read a paper aloud, paying attention to every word, letter, and punctuation mark. If you need additional proofreading help, ask a reliable friend, classmate, or peer tutor to make a final pass on your paper to look for anything you missed. Your finished assignment should be properly formatted, following the style required of you.
Your instructor or department may require a specific style to be used. The requirements may be more detailed and rigid for research projects and term papers, which often observe the American Psychological Association APA style guide, especially when citations of sources are included. To ensure the format is correct and follows any specific instructions, make a final check before you submit an assignment.
With the help of Checklist When editing a research paper, it is also important to check that you have cited sources properly and formatted your document according to the specified guidelines. There are two reasons for this. First, citing sources correctly ensures that you give proper credit to other people for ideas and information that helped you in your work.
Within the body of my paper, each fact or idea taken from a source is credited to the correct source. I have used the correct format of in text and parenthetical citations. Each source cited in the body of my paper has a corresponding entry in the references section of my paper. Each entry in my references section includes all the necessary information for that source type, in the correct sequence and format. The margins of my paper are set at one inch. Text is double spaced and set in a standard point font.
Following APA citation and formatting guidelines may require time and effort. However, it is good practice for learning how to follow accepted conventions in any professional field. Many large corporations create a style manual with guidelines for editing and formatting documents produced by that corporation.
Employees follow the style manual when creating internal documents and documents for publication. During the process of revising and editing, Jorge made changes in the content and style of his paper. He also gave the paper a final review to check for overall correctness and, particularly, correct APA citations and formatting. Read the final draft of his paper. Although you probably do not want to look at your paper again before you submit it to your instructor, take the time to do a final check.
Since you have already worked through all of the checklists above focusing on certain aspects at one time, working through one final checklist should confirm you have written a strong, persuasive essay and that everything is the way you want it to be. As extra insurance you have produced a strong paper, you may even want someone else to double-check your essay using C hecklist Then you can compare to see how your perceptions of your paper match those of someone else, essentially having that person act as the one who will be grading your paper.
You should now be confident you have produced a strong argument that is wonderfully constructed and that you will be able to persuade your audience that your points and point of view are valid. Chapter Skip to content Increase Font Size. What transition words or phrases did Mariah add to her paragraph? Why did she choose each one?
Key Takeaways Revising and editing are the stages of the writing process in which you improve your work before producing a final draft. Unity in writing means that all the ideas in each paragraph and in the entire essay clearly belong together and are arranged in an order that makes logical sense. Transitional words and phrases effectively make writing more coherent. Writing should be clear and concise, with no unnecessary words. Peer reviews, done properly, can give writers objective feedback about their writing.
Learning Objectives Edit your paper to ensure that language, citations, and formatting are correct. Try making your sentences as concise as they can be. Key Takeaways During revising, you add, cut, move, or change information in order to improve content. During editing, you take a second look at the words and sentences you used to express your ideas and fix any problems in grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Remember to budget time for careful editing and proofreading. Organization in a research paper means that the argument proceeds logically from the introduction to the body to the conclusion.
It flows logically from one point to the next. When revising a research paper, evaluate the organization of the paper as a whole and the organization of individual paragraphs. In a cohesive research paper, the elements of the paper work together smoothly and naturally. When revising a research paper, evaluate its cohesion.
In particular, check that information from research is smoothly integrated with your ideas. An effective research paper uses a style and tone that are appropriately academic and serious. When revising a research paper, check that the style and tone are consistent throughout. Editing a research paper involves checking for errors in grammar, mechanics, punctuation, usage, spelling, citations, and formatting. Previous: Chapter Developing a Convincing Argument. Next: Appendix. License Chapter Although usually assumed to be a grammatical mistake, as you can see in the examples above, fragments of sentences can be used deliberately to lend more meaning to words or impart a specific tone.
Here are 5 examples of sentence fragments along with a possible revision that includes a subject: Shows no improvement in your efficiency. Revision: The evaluation shows no improvement in your efficiency. Slammed the door and left. Revision : Sarah slammed the door and left. Running down the lane and into the forest.
Revision: The moose was running down the lane and into the forest. Discovered the cure for the disease. Revision: The researcher discovered the cure for the disease. Gave many reasons but no logical ones. Revision: Our boss gave many reasons but no logical ones.
Sentence Fragments Without a Verb Some sentence fragments have a subject but no verb. Here are fragment examples along with a possible revision including the verb: A time of wonder and amazement. Revision: That was a time of wonder and amazement. Clothes and shoes scattered around the room. Revision: Clothes and shoes were scattered around the room. The elected official for our district. Revision: The elected official for our district was unpopular. The answer to our prayers.
Revision: This inheritance is the answer to our prayers. Showing her award and gloating. Revision: Terri was showing her award and gloating. Sentence Fragments that Are Dependent Clauses Some sentence fragments are dependent clauses that cannot stand alone. Here are examples along with a possible revision to make it a complete sentence: Because it was raining. Revision: We canceled the picnic because it was raining. After I finish the project. Revision: I will get a bonus after I finish the project.
Since she never saw that movie. Revision: We should invite her since she never saw that movie. Such as drama, music, and dance.