Editing Checklist – Thirteen Questions to Ask Yourself
Please note that this checklist is not exhaustive, but suggestive only.
- Is the title of my essay at least moderately informative?
- Do I identify the subject of my essay (author and title) clearly?
- What is my thesis? Do I state it soon enough (perhaps even in the title) and keep it in view?
- Is the organization reasonable? Does each point lead into the next without irrelevancies and without anticlimaxes?
- Is each paragraph unified by a topic sentence or a topic idea? Are there adequate transitions from one paragraph to the next?
- Are generalizations supported by appropriate concrete details, especially by brief quotations in the text?
- Is the opening paragraph interesting and, by its end, focused on the topic? Is the final paragraph conclusive without being repetitive?
- Is the tone appropriate? No sarcasm, no apologies, no condescension?
- If there is a summary, is it as brief as possible, given its purpose?
- Are the quotations accurate? Do they serve a purpose other than to add words to the essay?
- Is documentation provided where necessary?
- Are the spelling and punctuation correct? Are other mechanical matters (such as margins, spacing, and citations) in correct form? Have I proofread carefully?
- Is the paper properly identified—author's name, instructor's name—course number, and date?