How to Revise an Essay–Format and Mechanics Checklist

Revising an Essay:  After you have reviewed the revision checklist for the style of the essay, move on to the format and mechanics checklist.  Here are some questions to ask as you revise the essay.

Format and Mechanics

  1. Most instructors require students to type their essays using a word-processing program such as Microsoft Word.  If you are required to submit a typed essay to your instructor, answer these questions.
  2. Have you included your name, course, date, and assignment name in the upper left-hand corner of the essay?  If not, include all of these items or the items required by your instructor.
  3. Does the length of the essay meet the assignment requirements?  If the essay is too long, shorten it to fit the required length.  If it is too short, add more material to the essay to lengthen it.
  4. Is your paper double-spaced?
  5. Does your paper have a title that is centered, not underlined, not italicized, not within quotation marks, and the first letter of major words capitalized?
  6. Are your paragraphs indented?
  7. Is there extra space between paragraphs?  There should not be any extra space between paragraphs.
  8. Have you used 2nd person pronouns throughout the paper?  You should not use 2nd person pronouns—you, your, yourself, etc.  Go through the paper and edit these pronouns.  First-person pronouns or third-person pronouns used in formal essays are generally accepted by instructors.
  9. Finally, have you proofread your paper for the following grammar and mechanics errors?
  • Spelling errors
  • Pronoun errors
  • Pronoun-antecedent agreement errors
  • Verb and verb tense errors
  • Subject-verb agreement errors
  • Comma errors
  • Fragment errors
  • Comma Splice errors
  • Run-On errors/Fused Sentence errors
  • Apostrophe errors
  • Contractions (avoid contractions)
  • End punctuation errors
  • Abbreviation errors
  • Capitals errors
  • Quotations errors
  • Transition words errors
  • Awkward wording or phrasing, wordiness, incoherent sentence errors
  • Slang, informal language, or dialect errors

Once the format and mechanics checklist is complete, you can move on to the citing sources checklist.

Writing can be a frustrating task for many students, particularly the older students, because they believe they have lost those writing skills they once knew.  For this reason, I have written several ebooks on writing to help students just like these.  I wrote these ebooks in the manner in which I teach the skills to my students.  I learn by following step-by-step instructions, and I find that method works well for most students, especially students whose grammar and writing skills are weak.

How to Write a Basic Essay in Seven Easy Steps: A Beginner’s Guide is designed to help students break down the various steps involved in writing an essay and tackle one task at a time.  My students tend to do well on essays where they write about topics they know a lot about, and when they are allowed to choose their own topics, I receive great essays.  They know themselves better than anyone else, so why wouldn’t they be able to write an essay that focused on themselves?

How to Write an Argumentative Essay is an extension of how to write a basic essay.  Because the argumentative format is somewhat specialized, meaning some elements must be included before it can be classified as an argumentative essay, students must understand some of the terminology related to the argumentative rhetorical mode.  These terms are defined and explained in the ebook along with directions on how to organize an argumentative essay.

How to Write a Short Story: A Beginner’s Guide is designed for the high school or college student as well as a beginning writer or author who wants to write essays of a creative nature, or in other words, short stories.  The basics of organizing a short story is outlined in this ebook in easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.


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