Tips for Revising

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First Drafts

After you have written your first draft, you will need to revise it. Read your draft carefully to make sure that it is well organized.

  1. Remember, an essay is a group of related paragraphs about one main idea. The introduction states the main idea. The body paragraphs contain the subordinate ideas that support the main idea. The conclusion restates the main idea and indicates the end.

    Essay Introduction main idea
    Body supporting idea
    supporting idea
    supporting idea
    Conclusion main idea, the end

    If ideas don't flow in a logical sequence from paragraph to paragraph, move the paragraphs around until your main points fall into a clear pattern. For example, you may want to organize your ideas chronologically, according to how things happened from start to finish in time, or you may want to talk about your ideas in order of their importance.

    Of course, you should organize your ideas in an outline long before you sit down to write. If you need to, you can change your outline as you write your essay.

  2. Just as an essay is made up of related paragraphs that develop a central point, a paragraph is made up of related sentences that develop a central point. If a sentence in a paragraph does not provide evidence for the main idea of the paragraph, delete it, rewrite it, or move it to another paragraph.

    Paragraph Topic Sentence main idea
    Supporting sentences supporting idea
    supporting idea
    supporting idea
    supporting idea
    supporting idea

  3. Check to make sure you have not accidentally left out an important point. If so, add a sentence or paragraph to clarify your meaning or provide further evidence for your main point.

  4. Check to make sure that all your subordinate ideas support the main idea. If you have accidentally included something that does not support the main idea, delete it.

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