Tidewater Community College
Examining your draft for:
Rewriting to eliminate problem spots
and/or add material to clarify your
Proofreading your final draft and
correcting any remaining
grammatical, mechanical, and format
There Are Three Steps to the
Have I eliminated all sentence fragments? (A sentence needs a complete subject, a complete
verb, and a complete thought to be a sentence.)
Have I eliminated all comma splices? (Two complete thoughts separated only by a comma.)
Have I eliminated all run-on sentences? (Two complete thoughts without any punctuation
Are the spelling and capitalization correct throughout my paper?
Is the verb tense correct throughout my paper? (Verb tense should be consistent unless you are
deliberately using a flashback technique or are using transitions to guide your reader through
Do all my subjects agree with their verbs? (Don’t forget that verbs in present tense change
according to the subject (“he/she/it” rule).)
Polishing your draft to correct errors in English.
Proofread to identify and eliminate any errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Don’t begin the editing process immediately after redrafting; you’re too tired! Also, you’ll ghost
write and automatically fill in the gaps because what you meant to say is too fresh in your
memory. Put it away for a day or two.
Use a proofreading checklist of grammar and spelling errors that you most frequently make. Be
prepared to read your draft several times as you check for errors.
Read your paper backwards! Start from the bottom of your paper, read the last sentence first,
then the next-to-last sentence, etc. all the way to the beginning sentence.
Team up with a classmate and become proofreading partners. After you have edited your own
papers, swap and edit each other’s. He/She may find several error s you missed.
Use a computer spell check to find spelling errors, but BEWARE!!
If you write the sentence “I fell tired.” spell check will not pick up that “fell” is the wrong word
and that it should have been “feel.” It will only recognize that fell was spelled correctly.
Reassessing Examining your draft for:
Does every sentence in each paragraph relate back to that paragraph’s topic
Does every sentence in the body of my paper relate back to my thesis?
Do all of my sentences communicate my ideas cleanly and smoothly?
Do I make good use of effective transition words to guide my audience through my paper?
Do I use descriptive language, such as adjectives and adverbs that add interest and allow
the audience to “see” my point?
Do I stay away from non-descriptive terms such as “thing, bad, sad, mad,” etc? (Invest in a
Do I refrain from using tired, overused language and/or phrases (cliches) such as “once in a
lifetime” or “new and improved”?
Have I made sure to consider my audience’s experience level with my topic and provided
sufficient detail to explain unfamiliar terms? Do I use language acceptable to an academic
audience? (No “bikini” language at the wedding!)
Applying the knowledge you gained from answering the questions in your reassessment
stage, and then writing a new version or draft of your paper.
Re-order your sentences, if necessary, so that they are in a coherent order that is appropriate
to the mode of writing you are doing. For example, a narrative should be written in chronological
order while a persuasive paper should be in emphatic order.
Eliminate sentences that are not directly related back to your topic sentence or thesis (Unity).
Regroup related sentences together and provide new transition words where necessary (Coherence).
Eliminate language that is “deadwood.” Some words are like junk food; they fill up a paper, but they
have no real value! Sometimes, simple is just better ; for example, change “at this point in time” to
Fill in the gaps created in draft one. Provide specific and relevant examples to support your topic
sentence and/or thesis. General statements may be organized and coherent, but they do little to
persuade, inform, or entertain your reader. Detail (not deadwood) adds interest.
To Illustrate or Show Cause & Effect
Accordingly consequently indeed particularly After all
for example in fact specifically As a result for instance of course
therefore Because for one thing overall thus
To Add, Restate, or Emphasize
Again finally in conclusion on the whole Also first (second)
in other words too And further moreover to sum up
Besides in addition next
To Show Time or Place
Above beyond lately soon until After currently now then when
As soon as earlier once there whenever Before here
presently to the left to the right Below immediately where since
To Compare or Contrast
Although despite in the same way similarly And even though likewise still
As however nevertheless though both in contrast on the other hand
whereas But n spite of regardless yet