Students who are experienced in academic writing know for sure that creative writing is just a part of a final paper production process. Much of the paper’s success depends on student’s decision to conduct some post-writing activities, particularly revising and editing. Student who edits and proofreads his or her paper usually gets a higher grade. A post-writing stage is very important thus, because it allows students to assess their own work as a whole, rather than as a set of ideas compiled into a single text. To ensure better outcomes, students should consider using editing checklist.
While revision process aims at improving writing from the perspective of organization and clarity of ideas, editing ensures proper mechanics. Therefore, editing checklist is a set of statements or questions that suggest students review their papers with particular attention to such specific aspects as punctuation, spelling, grammar, capitalization, and format.
Proofreading ensures that papers are free of errors that can distract reader’s attention from author’s ideas. We’ve developed an editing checklist middle school students can use for both peer and self-editing. Mind though that no matter what your academic level is, either you are a high school students or a college freshman, requirements to paper mechanics are common for everyone. Therefore, we suggest you use this checklist to ensure the best outcomes.
Self- and Peer Editing Checklist
We’ve divided this checklist into sub-categories to ensure that you will check your paper for one type of mistake at a time. This approach is particularly effective because it allows you to concentrate better on specific aspect.
- Each word in an essay title begins with a capital letter.
- Articles or coordinating conjunctions begin with lowercase letters unless they are the first or last words in a paper title.
- Each sentence begins with a capital letter.
- All proper nouns (people names, names of places and things) start with capital letters.
- All paper headings have proper capitalization as required by specific formatting guidelines.
- All words highlighted by a spell check are reviewed and corrected.
- Commonly mixed pairs of words, particularly there-their-they’re, to-too-two, its-it’s, are-our, form-from, and your-you’re among others, are used correctly.
- Commas are properly used to set off items listed in a series.
- The Oxford comma, which is also known as the Harvard or serial comma, is properly used (it is placed before a grammatical conjunction when there are three or more items, but not in case of only two items).
- Commas are placed before conjunctions (and, or, but) in compound sentences.
- Every sentence ends with correct punctuation mark (questions end with question marks, while declarative sentences end with full stops).
- Colons and semicolons are correctly used in your essay.
- Subjects and verbs agree in each sentence.
- Apostrophes that signify possession or mark contractions (if these are acceptable, otherwise substitute all contractions with proper alternatives) are in place.
- There are no sentence fragments or run-ons. Each sentence has a subject and a verb.
- All pronouns agree with their antecedents.
- Active voice prevails in the paper (mind that you should avoid using passive voice in academic writing; try to substitute instances of passive voice usage with active voice alternatives).
- There are no exclamation marks in the text (exclamation marks are generally not acceptable in academic writing).
- Each sentence has proper length. There are no sentences that are too short or too long (Mind that students often make grammatical errors in long sentences; therefore, consider substituting long sentences with several shorter alternatives).
- Your text has separate introduction, body paragraph(s), and conclusion.
- Whenever a new idea is introduced, a new paragraph begins.
- Whenever time or location change, a new paragraph begins.
- Every paragraph is fully developed. There are topic sentences, evidence, explanation, and concluding sentences in every body paragraph.
- Each piece of evidence is properly cited.
- Direct quotes are presented in quotation marks.
- Long quotes are presented following specific format requirements (for instance, as separate blocks of text and with proper punctuation in the in-text citation).
Usual formatting requirements for all academic papers (please, mind that you should comply with the requirements provided by your professor even if they differ from those that follow)
- Times New Roman, size 12 font is used.
- The text is double-spaced.
- 1-inch margins are set on all sides.
- Third-person perspective is used throughout the text.
- Word choice corresponds to the task (students should avoid using slang or non-standard English in academic writing).
Upon using this brief editing checklist, students can improve their papers, simultaneously ensuring higher grades. It may take you an extra hour to polish your essay properly, but an outcome is worth the efforts!