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Eleventh Step in Essay Writing:
Undertaking an Essay Review

When the final draft of your essay is ready it is vital that you review it before submitting. A comprehensive review will capture any significant mistakes and/or problems in your work. No matter how experienced you are, it is important to review every essay you write. It is common practice even for professional writers and editors to scrutinize a document before it can be considered complete.

It is important to ask other people to assist with reviewing your work. A common mistake among writers, especially for who have little experience, is to use their own instinct to judge the quality and completeness of their essays. It is easy to fall into this trap. You have, after all, put a lot of work into your essay. You devoted a lot of time, effort and thought to it. You believe you gave it your best and if you are a diligent person, it is most likely you are going to do it well yourself. But there is one thing we all have to bear in mind - we are all (including scholars and writers) are human beings. The most skilled writers are known to make errors in grammar and/or sentence structure to the extent their work undergo a thourough editing. Even if you are a great writer, your typing skills may not be the best because typing and writing are two different things. Even if you have produced an outstanding content, typos can still creep in.

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Show Empathy as a Writer

What is meant by having empathy as a writer? It means taking the place of another person and seeing things as they see them. Hence, for a writer to have empathy, is to take the place of a reader. During your review, consider how your written work would appear to a reader who has not seen your drafts before. How do your words, thoughts and ideas flow? Will a reader find your work accessible and pleasing to read? If your essay required you to put forward an argument, how clear will the reader find your key points and thesis? Do not forget that even though you probably know what you mean, it might be not be so clear to readers.

Reading a Text Out Loud Can Help

A lot of writers have found that reading their text out loud during the review stage is a good way of finding and correcting any errors. It is important for new writers to understand that silent reading is not nearly as effective. The reason behind this technique is a psychological one. Having written your essay, you know what you wrote and meant to say. That is where the problem is. When you sit down to proofread your own work, you are looking at it through the lens of what you intended to say and what you believe it should say. Put another way, a writer rarely proofreads their own work from an objective perspective. They approach a review with preconceived ideas and expectations and are not nearly as objective as a person who is reading the paper for the first time.

By reading your words out load, you will hear them as they would be perceived by your reader. If your written work is not fluid enough or sounds awkward, this will jump out at you as you hear the words. Any words that are missing, any syntax that is not correct or any grammatical flaws will become apparent. Here and there you will realize that something does not sound right. Think of your essay as a speech that is being delivered to the public. What would it sound like to the audience who are listening? If a written piece sounds confusing or awkward to listeners, the same will apply to readers.

Checking for Grammar Errors

It is easy enough to make grammatical mistakes. Not every writer, after all, has the same training as someone who is qualified to teach English. Even the most skillful writers sometimes make grammar mistakes. When you read your essay out loud you have a better chance of detecting grammatical errors. As noted earlier, you may find something that just does not sound right. One maxim worth bearing in mind is that if something sounds wrong, then very likely it is so. A great thing about nowadays is that we have access to software that can detect spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors as well as various other problems with a written text. However, computer software is not as reliable and cannot replace professional proofreading. There are some common grammatical errors that a lot of writers make and the following list is just a few that you should be aware of:

Fragmented or Incomplete Sentences

It is important to know what a full sentence is and is not. A proper sentence is made up of a verb and a subject and each should match the other to make a set of words that convey a complete thought. The following are examples of incomplete and complete sentences:

An incomplete sentence: “Ancient Greece historic place very long time.”

A complete one: “Ancient Greece is an historic place that has been in existence for a very long time.”

The Role of Syntax

The incorrect use of syntax is another problem as is the construction of sentences that use inappropriate language. An example of incorrect syntax usage:

“Natural selection theory to evolutionary biology was Charles Darwin’s main contribution.”

The following shows how this sentence could be written if correct syntax were used:

“The main contribution Charles Darwin made to evolutionary biology was his theory on natural selection.”

See how the above sentence flows smoothly and conveys the idea better. So remember if it sounds wrong, most likely it is wrong.

The whole process of writing and reviewing essays can be difficult. WritingLeader offers a reliable writing service and is always on hand to assist.

Correct Use of Commas

It helps to know how to use commas properly. A large number of tutors and professors complain that students give the impression that commas are given for decorations. There are correct and incorrect ways to use commas.

Incorrect use: “Heart disease is deadly, thousands of people lose their lives to it every year.”

This sentence contains what is known as a spliced comma. In this situation, a period should be used instead of the comma. Or, alternatively, it would be appropriate for the comma to be joined to the rest of the sentence by a conjunction.

Correct use: “Heart disease is deadly. Thousands of people lose their lives to it every year.”

Correct use: “Heart disease is deadly and thousands of people lose their lives to it every year.”

Misspelled Words

Your spelling does not have to be flawless to be a good writer. You should, however, be able to spot spelling mistakes. Luckily, writers now have spellcheckers available. Your grandparents can probably tell you what writing an essay was like before technology advanced to its present stage. Still, a machine or piece of software can merely follow the instructions the programmer provides. So do not rely on a spellchecker to correct all your mistakes. Where a particular spelling does not look right when you are typing or re-reading your text, then very likely it isn’t. Do not hesitate to look up words in an old-fashioned dictionary if you need to. There are a lot of very good online dictionaries available so spelling mistakes are inexcusable today when there are so many useful tools at your disposal.

Incorrect Word Usage

It is still easy to misunderstand the meaning of certain words or get them mixed up, even if your vocabulary is pretty impressive. Sometimes, for instance, people confuse the words “compliment” and “complement.” Take a look at this sentence:

Incorrect: “Jane’s tutor praised the quality of her essay and she took it as a great complement.”

This sentence uses the word “complement” incorrectly. This word means to “add” or “supplement.” The correct word would be “compliment,” which means to “approve” or “congratulate.”

Sentences that Run-on

This is another frequent mistake. In a nut-shell this means that a sentence is a lot longer than is appropriate or than it needs to be. Take a look at this sentence:

“Having started in 1861, the US civil war developed into a conflict of great bloodshed between the North of the country and the South where the issues at stake ranged from the rights of individual states to slavery, and the contentious issues that were the cause of the conflict had a considerable bearing on the nation’s future and on how future generations of Americans would define themselves.”

It appears to be more like a paragraph than a sentence. It would sound a lot better if it were divided into at least two if not three sentences. With proper punctuation the ideas and information would remain the same while overly long and awkward sentences could be avoided. Take a look at this version:

“Having started in 1861, the US civil war developed into a conflict of great bloodshed between the North of the country and the South. The issues at stake ranged from the rights of individual states to slavery. The contentious issues that were the cause of the conflict had a considerable bearing on the nation’s future and on how future generations of Americans would define themselves.”

Familiarize Yourself with Academic Guidelines and Standards

When writing academic essays and/or other types of scholarly papers it is very important to remember that these types of assignments use different standards than those generally used for more casual and informal types of communication. The guidelines are usually very strict and the standards are much higher. When writing any type of text for academic purposes it is not appropriate to use local vernacular, slang, or generally any language contortions despite the fact that these may well be acceptable in other contexts. The style and tone of an academic essay should be formal. Additionally, it is important to avoid popular lingo and clichés. Repetition should also be avoided and each paragraph should start and end with a transitional sentence to take it smoothly on from the previous one or move it forward to the next one. Usually it will be a requirement that a university level paper requires a particular style for citing and formatting sources. Some of these styles include AMA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Turabian. The requirements for the styles also apply to some publishing houses.

Therefore, it makes sense for all writers, especially new ones, to become acquainted with the different academic styles in order to be able to use them when required.