Week 5


  • To be able to differentiate between revision and editing.
  • To understand and gain from self editing.


This is the process of going back, and looking again at your work with fresh eyes. This is the time to consider if your essay is going in the right direction, is organized the right way and provides enough evidence for your thesis. Sometimes it is also a time to reconsider your thesis ? after exploring an idea through the writing process, your opinion may have changed. Do you need to adjust or modify your original thesis statement?


  • Wait- if possible, wait at least two or three days after finishing a draft before sitting down to start your revision.
  • Take a broad perspective- try not to be distracted by small grammar points or punctuation at this stage, look at the big picture and think about the development of your ideas or argument overall.
  • Be honest with yourself ? is your point worth making? Or does your thesis need altering?
  • Look critically ? is your essay supporting your thesis? Is it expressing the points you want to make?
  • Put yourself in the reader’s shoes ? will your reader understand what you are saying? Are you assuming the reader knows certain things already? Remember to explain everything ? we cannot be sure our reader will know what we know.
  • Consider the essay in parts ? is your introduction a clear statement of your intentions in the essay? Is your conclusion a clear summary and final thesis statement? Is everything in between relevant?
  • Be ruthless? when you find irrelevant points and sentences, no matter how interesting or well written they are, CUT THEM OUT!
  • Add energy ? look for sentences you can make more forceful, definite or persuasive by using more direct wording, think about where and how you can illustrate your points and make the writing more alive.


  • Print your essay out if you were working on a computer, and try revising on hard copy.
  • Ask a friend to look at your draft and highlight any parts they find difficult to understand.
  • Remember that writing is a process ? don’t be disappointed if you realize you need to make changes, it is unrealistic to think that a first draft will be of the standard you would really like to achieve.


Editing is an essential part of the writing process, and a very important skill to develop. Work that has not been carefully edited is full of unnecessary mistakes that lower the quality and the grade of an essay, simply because the writer did not leave or take the time to self-edit. Though editing requires patience, it is a very rewarding process, and stops us from feeling frustrated when we receive our corrected work from our teachers full of red circles around mistakes we didn’t need to make.


  • Work slowly ? each sentence needs to be considered on it’s own, and then considered in relation to the sentence before and after it, this takes time and concentration ? you cannot rush it!
  • Use pen and paper ? it is common that people see things on hard copy that they could not identify on a computer screen, editing is best done the old-fashioned way.
  • Check spelling? use a dictionary for every word you are uncertain of, and be wary ? remember that you may be using a correctly spelt word that is simply the wrong word (for example lose/loose).
  • Check grammar? consider tenses carefully, and use an English ? English dictionary to help you get verb patterns (for example consider + verb + ing, NOT consider + infinitive) and dependent prepositions (for example depend on) right.
  • Check transition signals? have you signaled how ideas and sentences relate to each other accurately? Have you used ‘however’ when you needed ‘therefore’?
  • Check punctuation? are you using capital letters in the middle of sentences? Are you using them after periods (.)? Do you need a comma(,)?
  • Check weaknesses? by now you should have been able to identify from your previous essays what some of your areas of weakness are (for example articles, capital letters, using the past tense), use this information to focus on breaking bad habits and avoid repeating past mistakes.


  • Think about the differences between your language and English (word order, SVO, articles, inclusion of subject) as you edit, this will help you to focus on the code (English) as well as the message (your points).
  • Edit again / after you have corrected the obvious errors, you may find it easier to see the ones that are more difficult to identify.

Writing Topic

You’ve read about different types of essays in the lesson for Week 3. Now it’s your turn to try your hand at writing several different styles. For your assignment this week, write a narrative essay about the following topic:

Be sure to use lots of adjectives. Remember that the narrative essay tells a story. This kind of essay is more conversational in style, and tells of a personal experience. You should use the first person (‘I’) when writing this piece. You don’t have to ‘tell the truth’ absolutely when writing this essay. Be creative and ‘lie’ a little to make your essay more interesting. Use your imagination!