“To revise” literally means “to see again”. When you are revising, you are still working with ideas and content, not with grammar or spelling. You are looking at your ideas critically, and asking yourself some important questions.
There are three stages to revising your writing: Revision, Editing, and Proofreading. Often these stages can be referred to as Higher-Order and Lower-Order concerns. The Revision stage addresses Higher-Order concerns, which should be addressed first. Lower-Order concerns are addressed in Editing and Proofreading stages.
Revision is focused on improving your ideas, not the mechanics of your paper.
Revision leads naturally to editing. Find a quiet space and remove yourself from distractions. Print off a draft of your writing since it is best to edit on paper than on the computer. Be prepared to make notes in the margins with your changes. Focus on structure and order of ideas at this stage.
Watch this video to learn about the Higher-Order and Lower-Order concerns for revising your essay. The video explains what you should be looking for as you revise, edit, and proofread what you have written. You can also download the Higher-Order and Lower-Order concerns video transcript.
Complete the activities or read the text below to learn about the types of sentences.
Complete this activity to learn about the different types of sentences. opens in new window
Complete this activity to learn how to identify and correct run-on sentences in your essays.
There are three main types of grammatically correct sentences: simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences. When a sentence is not constructed correctly, it can sometimes be known as a run-on sentence. Read more about each type of sentence below:
A simple sentence consists of one independent clause, which means that it normally has a single subject and a single verb (although it can have compound subjects or verbs), and expressing a complete thought.
Sentences fall into four types based on their functions or the jobs that they do.
You can combine simple sentences to create compound sentences.
A compound sentence consists of two simple sentences (independent clauses) that are joined by a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS= for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
Complex sentences consist of at least one independent clause and one dependent clause. A dependent clause contains a subject and a verb, but does not express a complete thought.
If the dependent clause appears first, it is followed by a comma. There is no comma when the independent clause is followed by a dependent clause.
Complex sentences show relationships between the independent clause and the dependent clause, such as time or cause and effect.
A run-on sentence is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses are joined without either a semi-colon or a comma with a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). There are two types of run-on sentences fused sentences and comma splices.
A fused sentence happens when independent clauses are merged without any punctuation or coordinating conjunctions.
A comma splice occurs when two or more independent clauses are joined only by a comma.
There are several ways to correct a run-on sentence:
Writing an essay is hard work. It involves a lot of planning of your ideas and structure, writing in drafts and then reviewing and editing your writing once it is completed. This can involve going back and forth through your writing many times to make sure the final product is perfect.
Often times, this process of writing can cause writers to get absorbed into their own essay to the point that they lose focus of the bigger picture: Who am I writing for?
Remember, the first approach to writing anything is to answer the following questions: What is my purpose for writing? Who is my audience?
The writer can become so interested in the process of writing that they forget another important aspect of writing: The Reader. The revision stage allows for the writer to take a step back and allow for some time between writing and revising in order to analyze the writing more as a reader and less as the writer.
Take a step back from your writing. Maybe give yourself a day or two after you’ve finished writing before you take a look at it as a reader. Follow a revision checklist or try out a concept called “Reverse Outlining”. Also try reading backwards starting with the last sentence and correcting your essay one sentence at a time. You will notice a difference!