Re-writing essays and term papers

sample from downloadable HTML program or PDF book

1. Re-writing is an important part of producing successful essays and term papers. Your first draft is a temporary document which can be altered. Treat it as a rough version of your essay upon which the final version will be constructed. Don’t think it’s the best you can produce, just because it might have cost a lot of effort.

2. Most successful authors make several drafts of their work. They edit and re-write what they produce, correct mistakes, and make additions and deletions. Good writing is often the result of extensive re-writing before the final draft. Don’t imagine that you should be able to write perfectly well at your first attempt.

3. Get used to the idea of re-working your ideas and your expression. Don’t feel guilty about correcting and revising several times over.

4. A word-processor is ideally suited to working with multiple drafts. This can be done in two ways. You can choose to keep polishing and refining the same basic document, saving it to incorporate each set of changes. Alternatively, you can create and save separate drafts. These may then be compared and mixed until you have produced something to your satisfaction.

5. If necessary, you may also wish to read the work out loud to check for weak grammar. However, keep in mind that a conversational tone and style is best avoided in formal essays.

6. When producing successive drafts of your work, keep in mind the following suggestions.

Checklist for re-writing

  • Simplify any awkward grammar
  • Split up sentences which go on too long
  • Re-order paragraphs to improve your argument
  • Eliminate repetitions
  • Correct errors of spelling or punctuation
  • Create smooth transitions between paragraphs
  • Add any important ideas you have missed out
  • Delete anything which is not strictly relevant

© Roy Johnson 2003

Writing skills links

Re-writing Tutorials, guides, and books, on writing skills

Red button Writing skills – a bibliography

Red button Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook

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