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Ron Cooley, English Faculty

One-hour Edits

I have one hour to do some quick edits; what is the best use of this time?

Now with computer spell checkers it's an absolute necessity, but it's probably the last thing you want to do in your hour of final revision. Just make sure you run a spell check and also read the paper looking for words the spell check won't catch because both of the words, the misspelling is a real word, and therefore you have to catch those on your own. So of your last hour -- maybe the last half hour to 15 minutes -- should be running the spell check and ... you know, an ordinary, old fashioned proofread. The first part of that, probably the first priority is to make sure that your introduction and conclusion agree, that you haven't changed your mind over the course of the paper, and if so you either have to recast your thesis statement or recast your conclusion to make sure that you're saying the same thing at the end that you are at the beginning. Then, if there is any extra time, what you want to do is to go through the topic sentence of each paragraph and make sure that each one of those is pertinent to the thesis, so that ideally a reader should be able to look at those topic sentences and say, "okay, these are the main issues that this essay is addressing".