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Editing Checklist – Thirteen Questions to Ask Yourself


Please note that this checklist is not exhaustive, but suggestive only.

  1. Is the title of my essay at least moderately informative?
  2. Do I identify the subject of my essay (author and title) clearly?
  3. What is my thesis?  Do I state it soon enough (perhaps even in the title) and keep it in view?
  4. Is the organization reasonable?  Does each point lead into the next without irrelevancies and without anticlimaxes?
  5. Is each paragraph unified by a topic sentence or a topic idea?  Are there adequate transitions from one paragraph to the next?
  6. Are generalizations supported by appropriate concrete details, especially by brief quotations in the text?
  7. Is the opening paragraph interesting and, by its end, focused on the topic?  Is the final paragraph conclusive without being repetitive?
  8. Is the tone appropriate?  No sarcasm, no apologies, no condescension?
  9. If there is a summary, is it as brief as possible, given its purpose?
  10. Are the quotations accurate?  Do they serve a purpose other than to add words to the essay?
  11. Is documentation provided where necessary?
  12. Are the spelling and punctuation correct?  Are other mechanical matters (such as margins, spacing, and citations) in correct form?  Have I proofread carefully?
  13. Is the paper properly identified—author's name, instructor's name—course number, and date?

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mwutz@weber.eduPhone  801-626-7011
Skype  michaelwutz007

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Weber – The Contemporary West
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Michael Wutz, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor
Editor, Weber - The Contemporary West
Department of English, 1404 University Circle
Weber State University
Ogden, UT 84404-1404 USA