Editing Under Time Pressure

If you haven't set aside enough time to edit your paper carefully, you can take a shortcut (but never skip this phase!).

1. Read the question in the assignment and highlight key words and instructions.

2. Plan your essay.

  • Preferably, do so in a loud voice, by asking questions to yourself.
  • Write down what you say (main points and points derived from that one).
  • Assign paragraphs to your text. Remember: one paragraph=one idea.

3. Write your paper and check your outline as you go along.

4. Read the paper nonstop from the beginning to the end at least once.

When you work on different sections separately and then paste them to the general text, there may be problems of connection between those sections that you'll fail to detect unless you read the whole text.

5. Proofread and edit your paper.

  • Are there any spelling errors?
  • Are there any words missing from the sentences?
  • Are there any words used incorrectly?
  • Can you suggest a better word or word form?
  • Look at the nouns. Do they have the appropriate singular or plural endings? Is an article needed? Has the appropriate article been used?
  • Look at the verbs. Do the verb endings agree (in person -first, second, third-, or in number -singular or plural) with the subjects? Are the verbs in the appropriate tense?
  • Look at punctuation. Do you see any problems with commas, periods, semicolons, quotation marks, etc.?
  • Are there words that occur repeatedly but unnecessarily in the text?