February 11, 2015

Edit Your Work

Let’s talk about the importance of editing your work, both what you submit to your teachers and what you will write for the SAT essay. Editing your work is extremely important! It is a process that allows you to refine what you are trying to communicate and craft the best possible version of your work. I hope none of you do this: Write a draft of an essay, print it, and then turn it in to your teacher without ever reviewing it. You need time to reflect on how you can improve your piece of writing and correct any mistakes you may have made in grammar and usage. This is what you should do: Write that essay, take a break from it, re-read and edit it, and, ideally, have someone else read through it to give you constructive feedback. There is a great Editing Checklist on Grammar Girl’s website (http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/) I think you will find useful. I would encourage you to print it and use it to help you look for and correct mistakes in grammar and usage. The following topics are addressed along with examples of each:


  • Wrong Word
  • Vague Pronoun Reference
  • Lack of Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
  • Missing or Unnecessary Capitalization
  • Unnecessary Shift in Verb Tense
  • Sentence Fragments
  • Monotonous Sentence Structure
  • Adjective Drift
  • Unnecessary Adverbs and Prepositions
  • Parallelism Errors
  • Passive Voice
  • “There Are” Sentences
  • Jargon
  • Missing Comma After Introductory Element
  • Unnecessary Comma
  • Comma Splice
  • Run-On Sentence
  • Missing Comma in a Compound Sentence
  • Missing Comma with a Nonrestrictive Element
  • Mechanical Problems with Quotations
  • Quotation Marks for Emphasis
  • Apostrophe Errors
  • Unnecessary of Missing Hyphen
  • Spelling Errors


While you will not have time to go through an exhaustive editing process during the SAT (or have someone else read your essay!), you should still allot yourself two or three minutes at the end of the writing task to review what you wrote and make any necessary corrections.


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