Now you have written a draft of your essay, you are ready to edit it. Editing is best carried out in stages from argument through to expression. The four-stage approach comprises a series of questions that you can ask yourself to help with the editing process.
Edit for argument
- Is your thesis statement clear?
- Does it take a position and outline your supporting argument?
- Does it answer the essay question?
- Are your key reasons signposted in the introduction?
- Are they summarised in the conclusion?
Edit for structure
- Is your argument sustained through the essay body?
- Do your topic sentences contribute to your argument?
- Are your paragraphs in a logical order?
- Does the order of your reasons in the introduction match the order of your paragraphs in the body?
Edit for paragraphing
- Does each paragraph have a topic sentence and one main idea?
- Do your paragraphs have too much evidence and analysis? If so, should they be split?
- Are your quotations accurate?
- Is the evidence you use correctly cited?
Edit for expression
- Do your sentences flow together?
- Are there any long sentences that could be shortened?
- Are there any redundant phrases or areas of repetition that could be cut?
- Have you used synonyms to create variety in your writing?
Proofreading and formatting
- Have you eliminated spelling and grammatical errors? Check out our useful advice on writing in English for more resources on grammar
- Is the essay formatted according to the course requirements?