Final Steps to Writing an EssayOnce you have finished writing the conclusion and listed your sources, you have completed the first draft of your essay. However, you haven't finished the essay until you have edited and proofread it. Keep the following points in mind as you begin to proofread your paper.
- Make sure your sentences are necessary, clear, and concise.
- Make sure paragraphs are positioned to work towards your conclusion.
- Words aren't golden. If you used ten words to say it, but six will do, cut the other four. Alternatively, if an extra word or phrase helps to clarify a thought or idea, add it.
Once you are content with the structure of your essay, the next step is to ensure that the formatting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct.
- Be sure to check that you have put your pages in order.
- Do use a spellchecker. However, don't rely on it to find every error. Many spellcheckers won't differentiate between homonyms such as their and there, misuse of words like using then instead of than, cant instead of can't, or transposed letters such as form instead of from.
- Be sure proper nouns are capitalized, abbreviations are correct and end with periods in the proper places (e. g. U.S., MN, Inc.)
- Check for punctuation mistakes such as an orphaned parenthesis, extra spaces between words, and inconsistencies in using commas.
- Read through your essay again to be sure your thoughts are clearly stated. Try reading it aloud or let someone else read it to you.
- Are citations clear and correct? Have your correctly listed all sources you used?
Serif fonts (those with the little legs on the letters) make printed material much easier to read. If you typed your essay on a computer using a sans-serif font (one with no little legs on the letters), change it to a serif font before you print it. Print a copy of your essay and read it again, checking the size and readability of the text.
Once you're satisfied with your printed copy, you're finished! Good job! It's time to hand in your essay!