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More writing tips for revising your draft
Note. Revising and editing occasionally overlap, so you may see similar tips for editing and revising.
Be sure that your draft achieves its intended purpose. If your original purpose was to persuade, make sure all the information in the text is used to persuade your readers; if you set out to instruct, make sure the text is instructional; and so on.
Revise your thesis statement. Usually, you have a working thesis statement until you complete the writing stage, so it is time to finalize it so that all the information in the body paragraphs support the thesis.
Check each paragraph to ensure it supports the thesis. Also ensure the details in each paragraph supports its main point (or topic statement).
Revise the introduction. Make sure it clearly states the purpose and central point of your writing.
Revise all paragraphs to ensure the language you used is appropriate for your intended audience. For example, depending on the audience, you may find that a word is too technical for a lay audience or not technical enough for an audience of experts. Keep in mind that we do not write to impress but to communicate our ideas clearly and accurately.
Ask yourself whether the final product achieves its intended goal, and revise as needed to ensure that it does. This may require rewriting or deleting portions of the text.
Clarify any points that your intended audience may not understand. Remove information that you can safely assume that your intended audience understands.
Adjust your language, tone, and level of detail to suit your intended audience. For example, explaining a concept in very simple terms can be appropriate for a young audience but inappropriate for an older audience.
Be sure that your ideas are organized clearly and logically. If needed, move sentences or whole paragraphs around if doing so improves clarity.
Check your transitions between sentences, ideas, and paragraphs. Delete unnecessary transitions so you do not overuse them. Add transitions where clarity is improved.
Check your topic sentences and make sure they are clear and create a logical structure. Rewrite topic sentences so they fit the supporting details in the paragraph. Delete topic sentences if your readers can infer the main idea easily. (In some writing courses, topic sentences may be required. If so, leave them alone.)
Check your headings (if any) and make sure they are clear and create a logical structure.
Vary sentence lengths to create balance. Whereas too many short sentences make your work sound choppy, too many long sentences makes the work difficult to read. If needed, combine short sentences or break up overly long sentences.
Reread your introduction and make sure it does what it needs to do: engage the readers, grab the readers’ attention, frame the topic or issue, and introduce your thesis.
Reread your body paragraphs, making sure they walk your readers through your rationale and support your thesis.
Reread the conclusion, making sure it restates the main point, synthesizes the information you presented in your body paragraphs, and leads the reader to a logical conclusion or closure. If appropriate, consider whether your conclusion should include a specific call to action, a new way of thinking, a change in attitude, and so on.
Read your writing out loud to see if it flows smoothly. Rewrite any sentences or phrases that may sound awkward or may be unclear to your readers.
Avoid unnecessary jargon or technical terms. When they are needed, define or explain them in the text.
Revise unnecessarily complex sentences or paragraphs.
Supporting Ideas and Evidence
Make sure you supported all your claims well by presenting evidence from credible and reliable sources. If needed, include research or statistics.
Check all your references or citations to make sure you credited all your original sources. (If you do not, your readers may regard your writing as plagiarism, which is a serious offense in the professional and academic world.)
Consider whether the evidence you use is sufficient and relevant to support your claims. If insufficient, include new evidence. If irrelevant, remove it from your work.
Remove any information that does not support your thesis.
Being Concise and Consistent
If needed, summarize or condense any portions of your writing to make your work more focused.
If you defined terms, make sure you used them as defined consistently throughout your work.
Make sure you used a consistent tone throughout your work. For example, you may have started with a light-hearted tone and changed to a highly technical tone. If that was unintentional, revise your work so it is consistent.
Use of Appropriate Language
Check your work for consistent use of tone that is appropriate for the topic, audience, and purpose. For example, if writing for an academic audience, a neutral, professional tone may be preferred. In contrast, if writing for a young, general audience, your tone may be more friendly and relaxed. Similarly, when explaining the results of a study compared to describing a location, you may use more or less formal language, respectively.
Check your work for word choice, making sure to choose words that are appropriate for the topic, audience, and purpose. For example, if writing for an academic audience, you should not write something like, “What they found in the study was really cool;” you may need to change it to “The findings in the study provided insight on the issue.”