Any student who has written essays knows that error-free, impeccable assignments don’t come from the first drafts. But not many have the time to work through an elaborate editing process.
What many people don’t know is that a good editing strategy can save you a lot of precious time. Even when you have hired someone to write an essay for you, you must carefully analyze it to avoid possible issues. It is best to edit your essay before final submission.
To help you with that, we have created an essay editing checklist keeping in mind the hectic schedule of students. Follow the below pointers, and editing won’t look so tiresome anymore.
Is the Essay Properly Formatted?
The structure of your paper is the first thing that grabs the reader’s attention. A well-spaced and formatted text looks appealing and keeps the reader interested throughout the piece.
The standard structure for academic essays includes an introduction, a body with several paragraphs, and a conclusion. You should use professional fonts such as Times New Roman in size 12 and highlight headings accordingly. If your professor requires you to follow a specific style guide such as MLA, APA, or Chicago, ensure you stick to that.
Apart from this, use your judgment to see how your essay looks. Is the text easy to scan? Do you see any large blocks of texts? Simply glancing through your work will help you spot formatting mistakes such as unhighlighted headings and long paragraphs.
Are There Grammar and Spelling Errors?
Even though grammar checks are basic, their importance cannot be stressed enough. As a student, you might be confident about the language you use. But proofreading can reveal non-obvious grammar and spelling errors that can cost you a good grade.
One of the most common errors in this context is using incorrect homophones, such as there in place of their, or your in place of you’re. Another error is the missing Oxford comma, which can change the meaning of the entire statement. These mistakes are hard to spot but are best avoided through careful editing.
How Coherent Are the Paragraphs?
The flow of your essay shows how well you highlight multiple perspectives without straying from the main subject. Ideally, the piece should start with a brief introduction of everything the essay covers, followed by the body and conclusion. Within the body, each paragraph and sentence needs to be coherent with one another.
An easy way to check the flow of your essay is to list out the ideas expressed in each paragraph. If you find that each section sticks to a single subtopic in and out, then your paper has good coherency. But if you are starting the paragraph with one idea and ending it with another, you need to split it into two.
Next, you need to check the flow of the entire essay. You can do this by identifying how much every section relies on the previous one. Does the second paragraph state the limitations of the first? Or does it reinforce the idea of the section before it?
You can use connecting sentences like “In contradiction to the above…” or “Moreover, research suggests that…” to maintain the logical flow. It is best not to place two unrelated paragraphs next to each other.
Is the Tone Consistent With the Subject?
The tone of your essay determines how well you present the main subject. The right tone can reinforce your ideas, while the wrong one can ruin the entire purpose. You can easily determine the style of your essay by reading it aloud. What feeling does your overall work convey? Is it consistent with its purpose?
When choosing a tone, you should keep the paper’s subject, purpose, and audience in mind. For example, if you are highlighting someone’s best work, a critical tone is unsuitable. But it works well when analyzing a book or poem.
What About Readability?
The readability determines how clearly you explain your ideas to the reader. While academic essays demand the use of certain technical words, it is best to refrain from unnecessary complexity.
Many students indulge in over-complexity to make the article sound “scholarly.” This includes using lengthy sentences and fancy words that might confuse the reader. Instead, choose short, properly framed sentences without too many conjunctions. Find difficult words and replace them with simpler synonyms unless the essay requires using those words.
How Authentic Are My Sources?
You should use reliable sources to strengthen your argument in any academic paper. But it is easy to fall prey to false information, which reduces the authenticity of your essay.
Looking for additional information or tracing the origin of the data are some of the ways you can verify credibility. Once you establish the authenticity of the data, make sure that you properly cite it in your essay. Citations not only increase the credibility of your paper but also reflect the efforts you have put in.
Whether you want to improve the essay structure or spot common errors, the above checklist will help you reach editing goals. We recommend you spare a few hours after writing before you delve into proofreading. This enables you to develop a fresh perspective, and you can edit your essay as a reader and not a writer.