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Resources for Writers

Revision and Proofreading Step-by-Step

Check the content of your writing

Did I follow the assignment instructions?

Are all of my claims accurate?

Do I have a clear argument?

Check the structure of your writing

Are my introduction and conclusion clear and appropriate for my assignment?

Do I have a clear, defendable, and relevant thesis statement?

Are my sections in a logical order?

Check your paragraph structure

Are my paragraphs in a logical order?

Does each paragraph relate to my thesis statement?

Does each paragraph have a topic sentence?

Do I use transitions effectively to create a sense of flow?

Check the clarity and style of your writing

Have I used an appropriate tone?

Have I used gender-neutral language?

Have I avoided passive voice?

Do I have any unnecessary or repetitive phrases?

Have I used any technical or unusual terms I should define for my reader?

Do my word choices make sense?

Check your citations

Have I cited all of the sources I used?

Are my paraphrases and summaries in my own words and not copied from the author?

Have I provided correct in-text citations in APA or MLA style every time I use another person's ideas or words?

Is my Reference or Works Cited page formatted properly?

Proofread your writing for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors

Do I have the proper prepositions for my verbs?

Have I used "a," "an," and "the" correctly?

Do my subjects and verbs agree?

Is it clear what each pronoun refers to?

Do I have parallel structure in my sentences?

Are all of my verbs in the appropriate tense?

Do all of my sentences have a subject and a verb?

Do any of my sentences contain more than one independent clause?

Have I used punctuation correctly?

General Tips

 If you want to check your writing for errors, keep these tips in mind:

Plan ahead

  • Plan to spend about 20% of your time revising and 20% of your time proofreading.

Print it out

  • Having a written copy of your writing is easier to read through, and you can keep track of your revisions.

Rest your eyes

  • Take a break from your writing for at least 30 minutes. Looking at your writing with "fresh eyes" can help you relax and catch more of your own errors.

Read more than once

  • Read through your paper several times, focusing on only a few issues at a time. You will be more thorough and will catch more errors than if you tried to check everything at once.

  • If you know that you struggle with somethingparagraph transitions, for exampleread through your paper once paying attention to only that issue.


  • Remember that making changes in your paper is a totally normal part of the writing process.

  • No one writes a perfect first draft!


Want more resources?

Try looking through the subject guides on NorQuest Library's website! Find more writing resources and get information specific to your course or program in these collections managed by librarians and tutors.