Polish your essay

Edit your writing

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 eliminated spelling and grammatical errors?
  • Is the essay formatted according to the course requirements?