Revising a piece of your own writing is more than just fixing errors—that’s editing, which you should do after you revise.
Revising involves re-seeing your essay from the eyes of a reader who can’t read your mind, not resting satisfied until you’re sure you have been as clear and as thorough as possible.
Revising also requires you to think on a large scale, to extrapolate: if a reader remarked that you didn’t have enough evidence in paragraph three, you should also take a close look at paragraphs two and four to be sure that you also provide substantial evidence for those claims.
|An edit might be||A similar Revision might be||Significant Revision might include|
|Adding a comma before a quote||Explaining one quotation better where a reader didn’t understand||Explaining several quotations better, to improve the essay overall|
|Streamlining your thesis; cutting out unnecessary words||Adding a “because…” statement to your thesis sentence to express your “so, what?” up at the front||Changing every body paragraph so that each uses the same basic argument as the new thesis|
|Adding “In addition, . . .” to a paragraph to smooth a transition||Changing a parag. first-sentence from summary to argument, from “McCloud says…” to “What McCloud says about icons helps show Satrapi’s _____ .”||Changing all first-sentences (and some last-sentences) so that they show your argument; adjusting the rest of each paragraph to reflect your argument|
|Shortening a long quote & working it into your sentence||Choosing a better quotation that gives a more specific or relevant idea; explaining exactly how that quote (which words?) uses pathos or supports your claim||Adding second-example quotes to severalparagraphs; working quotes from Author A into paragraphs with quotes from Author B & drawing connections|
|Taking out a word that doesn’t fit a sentence very well||Cutting or moving a few sentences that don’t fitone paragraph; moving a good thesis sent. to the end of the first paragraph||Deleting chunks of summary; combining a paragraph of evidence with a paragraph that gives your argument|
|Adding a sentence to fill out a paragraph||Splitting a too-long paragraph into two separate ones, each with a new starting & finishing sentence||Adding a whole paragraph or section with a new example, counterargument, or related theory to intensify/expand your analysis|
|Fixing apostrophe errors in your conclusion paragraph||Revising your conclusion by connecting ideas from 2-3 points or authors at once; tying your conclusion to your introductory images/ideas||Going “out on a limb” in the concl. to get the “big picture” implications (for whom? why?) then adding some of that info back into ends of body paragraphs|
One more revising trick: Ask yourself, “What’s my best______ and my weakest _____?” (sentence, example, paragraph, transition, data, source, etc.) Be honest, and fix that weak spot!
Developed by and © Dr. Shelley Reid, Director of Composition, English Department, George Mason University