Article of the Week

Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when writers try to combine more than one idea into a single sentence. They cause confusion because readers are not sure when one idea ends and the next one begins. Read our entry and test your knowledge with our quiz!



Editing Guide

Everyone benefits from revising their work. Many top writers spend half of their writing time revising and proofreading. Revising involves making changes to a paper’s argument or construction. Proofreading is correcting grammar, punctuation, and formatting. These steps promote efficient work.

 

Make a plan based on your remaining time.

Is your work due tomorrow, or in a week? You know your own writing best—your strengths and weaknesses—so divvy up your remaining time based on what you feel will need the most work. Tackle problems with your argument before worrying about grammar; typos may briefly confuse a reader, but a weak thesis can lead the reader down the wrong path. It’s a good idea to allow time for at least one revision session, and a separate proofreading session. Multiple revision sessions will improve your work.

 

Take some time away from your paper before revising.

Professional authors may wait weeks to months before revising a completed draft. You may not have that luxury, but even an hour spent away from the paper gives you some critical distance.

 

Read your paper out loud.

Print out a hard copy of your paper for revising. Paper is more portable than your computer, and doesn’t produce a glare. Read the paper aloud to yourself, or ask a friend or family member to read it aloud for you. Listen for stumbling points—these often indicate an error, a poor word choice, or a convoluted sentence. This practice will also help you evaluate the argument.

 

Construct a reverse outline to assist you as you revise.

You may have written an outline before your draft, but your paper has probably changed since then. As you read, write down the main point of each section in the margins, and identify the evidence offered. Are you missing any evidence? Is any of the material unrelated to the main point?

 

Don’t be afraid to remove good material if it doesn’t support your points.

Sometimes you will encounter striking information in your research, and include it in a first draft. This information may be related to your argument, but often it serves no purpose. Remove it, and save the information in a separate file. You may want to use it at a later time for another paper.

 

Proofread after revising.

After you have revised your argument and organization, begin a proofreading round. If you have time, take another break first. This round, you must make your language cleaner and more economical. Check your sentences for variety. Evaluate each verb: can you find a stronger choice? Focus on misused homophones, repeated words, apostrophes, and commas; they are the most common errors in papers.

 

Revise again.

Repeat the process until you are absolutely satisfied! Sometimes it can be helpful to invite a friend to read your paper. When you read the paper, your mind provides additional context based on your research and feelings. It can be hard to realize that some information never made it from your head to the paper. Other readers will not have this context, so they can judge the merits of the paper objectively.

 

Submit your work to the Writing Center

Use ThinkingStorm’s Writing Center when you need another pair of eyes for your essay. Click on the Writing Center link from the site’s home page, then fill out the online submission form and attach your document. Our tutors will add comments and suggestions, and email the paper back to you. Papers under 30 pages are returned within 48 hours. You can submit multiple drafts of your work.