Here are some unusual but effective revising tips from the staff of the Writing Center:
- Read your paper backward, sentence by sentence, to help your eye catch mechanical errors and typos that you may otherwise miss.
- Ask yourself, "If the reader remembers only one thing from this paper, what will it be?" to help determine the strongest points of your work.
- Read your paper like a lawyer: look for holes in your logic that could sink your argument--and fix them!
- Read your paper out loud (preferably in a Shakespearean accent) to locate awkward or ill-phrased sentences and appropriate places for commas.
- Read only the first sentence of each paragraph. When put together, these sentences should summarize your argument.
- Replace all pronouns with the nouns they represent to be sure that they agree in number.
- For organization problems, bring out the scissors and literally cut out each paragraph. After making an outline, you can fit the pieces back together in a more effective order.
- To make sure you have covered the essentials in your argument, try to draw a hamburger based on what you have written. The top bun is the opening paragraph, details are the condiments, and the bottom bun is the conclusion. Remember, you need the actual hamburger patty between the buns--the point you're driving home. If your paper leaves you asking, "Where's the beef?" it's time to make some changes!