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Getting Smarter through Language

The Writing Process | Advanced (C-Level)

Stage 3. Step 1. Revising Your Draft

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Enrichment (non-ESL)

Note. This lesson is part of an advanced English-as-a-second-language course. To start from the beginning, go to the table of contents.

Polishing Your Work

Writers are almost never “done” when they have finished writing the first draft. You may have completed last paragraph, but it is still a draft that still needs work.

Effective writers go back over their work to revise it for clarity, to edit it for grammar and writing issues, and finally to add final touches.

Revising | Focus on Substance

When you revise your work, you focus on the substance or ideas, not on grammar or style. It is strongly recommended you should save multiple copies of your drafts as you go along in case you change your mind about your revisions and want to revert to a previous state. Some software or apps keep a version history automatically (e.g., Google docs).


When you revise your work, ask yourself the following:

Have I presented my ideas well?

  • Have I used appropriate language for the topic, purpose, and audience?
  • Are all my ideas in the correct order so that my writing walks the reader through my thinking and leads the reader to “the big picture?”
  • In each paragraph, do my details support the main idea?
  • Does each paragraph (as a whole) support my thesis statement?
  • Are my ideas logically sound? Are there logical errors in my reasoning?
  • Are there repetitive, redundant ideas that I can consolidate or delete?
  • Are there concepts I need to express better (for example, by adding a definition, an example, or an illustration)?

Are my sentences clear?

  • Do my sentences express well what I intended them to originally (not what I think they say but what the reader will effectively understand)?
  • Can I improve clarity and accuracy by choosing the right words or using different transitions?

Are my sentences well balanced?

  • Can I combine overly short sentences into more complex ones that are easier to read?
  • Can I break overly complex sentences into shorter ones that are easier to read?

Video Activity

Watch revising and editing your work and take good study notes.

The second part of the video is about editing your work, which you can find in on the next page.

Writing tips for revising your draft

Visit this list of revising tips for a more comprehensive list of what you can do when you revise your writing.

Make sure to return to this page to continue your course.

Up Next: Stage 3. Step 2. Editing Your Work

Continue the lesson to learn about editing your draft.

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