This section includes the professor's editing suggestions for paper writing.
The writing process includes rigorous editing practices. Below are some points to keep in mind as you re-read and edit your papers before turning them in. You may also wish to look at the brief guide to writing: Strunk, William Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York, NY: Longman, 2000. ISBN: 020530902X.
- Avoid passive constructions. "The chair was seen by me," is not as forceful as "I saw the chair."
- Use the past tense when describing historical individuals and events, not the present tense.
- Avoid unnecessary words. After you have drafted your essay, set it aside for a day or two. Then reread it, eliminating every word that is redundant or does not add to your meaning. Prime candidates for deletion are adverbs such as "very," "quite," "extremely."
- Never use the phrase "I feel that...." This lends a subjective air to your argument that tends to discredit you. Write "I think that...."
- Learn how to use the spell-checker on your computer program.
Six Questions to Ask Before Turning in Your Paper
- Is the title of my essay informative?
- Do I state my thesis point soon enough, perhaps even in the first sentence, and keep it in view throughout the paper? Is the opening paragraph interesting, and by its end, have I focused on the topic?
- Is my organization clear? Does each point lead into the next, without irrelevances and without anticlimaxes?
- Is each paragraph unified by a topic sentence or topic idea?
- Are sentences concise, clear and emphatic? Are needless words and inflated language eliminated?
- Is the final paragraph conclusive without being repetitive?