1. On the top margin of your essay, write the purpose of the essay. Then, answer these questions on your essay draft: does the essay fulfill this purpose? How do you know? Does my subject and how I wrote about this subject match the assignment requirements?
2. Highlight the thesis statement. Is it the last sentence of the introduction? Do all the other paragraphs in the essay prove/explain this thesis? Does the thesis make an argument? Make notes about your thesis statements about possible revisions.
3. Use a different highlighter and locate all your quoted and paraphrased evidence/sources. Answer the following questions on your essay:
Do you introduce all your quotes using MLA guidelines found on pages 399-413 in Strategies for Successful Writing?
Do cite all your quotes, summarized, and paraphrased material at the end of the sentence correctly? Turn to pages 399-413 in Strategies for Successful Writing, and make sure your in-text citations look like the examples in the textbook.
Are the sources you quoted/cited creditable?
4. After you quote or paraphrase evidence, do you analyze the information for the reader? Do you point out the point, or do you jump to a new idea. Go back to all your textual evidence and look what you wrote directly after. If you have not explained the point and/or tied it into the thesis, write a one or two sentence analysis now after each quote. Tell readers what to notice, and explain what this quoted material means to the argument you are making throughout the essay.
5. Turn to your Works Cited page. Is it a separate page at the end of your essay? Do you provide full citations of all the evidence/sources you quoted in the body of the essay? Do you provide full citations of any sources you paraphrased? Do you have any citations that are just a URL? If so, turn to 392-394 in Strategies for Successful Writing, and write out the full citation. Make corrections on your Works Cited page.
6. Highlight your topic sentences for each paragraph. Do they make a specific point and do they help prove the argument you made in your thesis? Do all the other sentences in the paragraph explain the topic sentence? If so, put a check mark beside the topic sentence. If a topic sentence is “off topic” from the rest of the paragraph, re-write the topic sentence to reflect the content of the paragraph.
7. With a different color highlighter, highlight the concluding sentences of each paragraph. Do the conclusion sentences naturally segue into the next paragraph, or do they create an artificial segue?
8. Identify paragraphs in your essay with fewer than six sentences. Put a star beside these paragraphs as an indication that you need to add content to these paragraphs in order to further develop your topics.
9. Starting with the conclusion and reading the last paragraph to the introduction, look for the words/phrases: I, you, we, me, us, my, to be, it is, there is, very, and thing. Highlight these words/phrases, and eliminate them from your essay.
10. Turn to 637-639 in the handbook section (the brown coded section) of Strategies. Read the rules. Then, check your essay for capitalization errors.
11. Circle all the commas in your essay. Then, turn to HB 622-627 in Strategies, and check your essay for correct comma and semi-colon use.
12. Turn to 115-117 to review active and passive voice. Then, skim through your essay looking at the verbs. Do you have active voice throughout your essay?
13. Put a check mark by every sentence that uses the conjunction “and” (gives a list). Have you constructed your lists according to parallel structure? Not sure, turn to 114-115.
14. Does your conclusion sum up your main point without introducing any new ideas? Does your conclusion leave your reader thinking, understanding the significance of the subject?
15. Turn to pages 403-413 in Strategies. Does the page layout of your essay look like the page layout found in the textbook?
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