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Dyson College of Arts and Sciences

EDITING STRATEGIES

It is important to give students the responsibility for cleaning up their own writing. Some helpful techniques to assist students in correcting their own errors are: 1) to show students what to work on by editing one paragraph or one page and then handing the paper back for them to finish editing, 2) to put a check or two checks in the margins next to the line that contains errors so that students can find and fix their own mistakes, instead of correcting every mistake, 3) to point out two or three types of errors or error patterns that the students can work on rather than trying to get the students to correct every mistake.

Editing Tips
ALWAYS PROOFREAD PAPER COPY. (Although it’s important to use spellcheck, print-out and re-read the final draft, preferably out loud.)

BEFORE HANDING IN THE PAPER, READ IT FROM THE BOTTOM UP. (This allows you to focus on grammar rather than content.)

CIRCLE PROBLEMATIC WORDS AND PHRASES WITH A BRIGHTLY COLORED PEN. (Then you can think about how to make this change or get advice about it.)

Editing Checklist (Linda Anstendig)
Sentences:1. Is every sentence healthy? Are there any run-ons or comma splices, or fragments?
Agreement:2. Do nouns (subjects) and verbs agree in every sentence?
3. Do nouns and pronouns agree?
Tense:4. Are verb tenses consistent, rather than shifting from sentence to sentence?
5. Do verb tenses match correctly within sentences?
Conventions:6. Are all new paragraphs indented?
7. Is the spelling accurate?
8. Are all apostrophes included (to show ownership and for contractions)?
Pronouns:9. Do we know to whom each pronoun refers?
10. Are pronouns consistent in person throughout the essay?
Variety: 11. Is the sentence style varied rather than monotonous?
12. Are there some short, some long, some compound, and some complex sentences?
13. Should some short sentences be combined?
Prose Style:14. Are the verbs carefully chosen? Do they reflect what I really want to say or are they commonly used words that don’t convey my meaning exactly?
15. Am I writing in the active, rather than the passive, voice?
16. Have I eliminated prepositional phrases and nouns that I don’t really need?

Tutorial Services Students who need extra help with various parts of the writing process should attend tutorial services for assistance: (PLV-Willcox Hall, Lower Level / PNY 41 Park Row, 2nd fl.)

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