Education and Learning

Excellent guide to english revision

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The ability to write great essays does not always come easily. Even after the writing part is done, the writer needs to consider revising in writing. But why is revision important? The need for revision is not to say you are not a good writer or writing editor. In fact, every good writer knows that English revision is a critical final stage in writing effective papers.  Being able to write good English comes from extensive practice and continual editing. Even the very best writers spend time editing their work before it is published.

What does revision mean in an essay?

The meaning of the word ‘revision’ is to look at something again. It is a chance to take a critical look at a work’s format and structure, correct grammar and spelling, proofread with a view to fixing any errors, and to generally polish a written piece.

How to revise your essays: Useful essay revision tips

This section provides some important essay revision tips. Once your essay is drafted, you have the benefit of hindsight. Did you find the topic or subject more complicated than expected?  Did the ideas you had in mind before you started turn out to be less important or interesting than things you discovered as you were writing? Are you keen to do some revision but not sure how to go about it?

Step-by-step guide to revision

  • Leave your first draft to one side for a while. This time out will enable you to evaluate your work more objectively.
  • Ask for feedback. A writer is not always the best person to identify whether parts of their work are clear or not. So, get someone else to decide. Tell them what your aims are. By describing your intentions or arguments to another person, ideas will also become clearer to yourself. 
  • Create a backward-looking outline for your paper or essay. Work out the main points or ideas for each individual paragraph. Rate these in order of importance to support your essay’s thesis. Work out how points/ideas connect.
  • Your essay’s thesis may need rethinking. You may want to reorder or restructure its argument(s) or point(s) based on what you decided in the outline creation stage. You may want to remove anything that is redundant or irrelevant or add new ideas.
  • When you are confident about what you are arguing, you can work on the paper’s introductory and concluding sections. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence and link each paragraph’s principal idea to your main thesis.
  • Now your work will need to be proofread. Strive to make the language precise and economical. Read out loud to hear the tone and style. (This will also enable you to spot anything you missed by sight.)

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List of writing check

  • Have you correctly and thoroughly interpreted the essay question and its implications? Is there anything you have missed?
  • Does your introduction clearly analyze the nuances and provide an accurate indication of your answer’s structure?
  • Is your material logically arranged?
  • Does your work flow smoothly from section to section or from one paragraph to the next?
  • Is the subject matter for every paragraph clearly demonstrated in that paragraph’s topic sentence?
  • Is every argument sufficiently developed?
  • Are your arguments clearly made or could certain parts be improved by rewriting them?
  • Is every argument adequately supported with examples and evidence?
  • How well does your evidence and examples work?
  • Where possible, have you shown readers instead of telling them?
  • Have you answered the given question in a way that is relevant?
  • Have you dealt with every part of the question and the implications you identified in your initial interpretation?
  • Have you covered the implications in sufficient depth?
  • Have you spent excessive time on less important aspects and an insufficient amount on important aspects?
  • Is the case you have made a convincing one and one that you could confidently justify in discussion.
  • Have you been careful not to introduce new points or ideas that have not been covered in the essay’s main body in the concluding section?

Powerful essay revision strategies

The reason why effective essay revision strategies are so important is because revision in English is very often the part of the entire writing process that is most neglected. Whereas editing is all about correcting obvious errors to make a paper compliant with English writing rules, revision involves evaluating a paper’s argument(s) and underlying idea(s). It means refining these with a view to developing nuance, style and focus. Revision allows the writer to experiment and gives them freedom to develop a first draft that may not be perfect. However, this amount of freedom can create uncertainty about where to start. When it comes to revision in English text, the following points are worth remembering:

  • Ideas are more important than style. You should first check that the sequence of your paper’s content is logical. Readers should be taken through the paper’s reasoning step-by-step. The manner in which ideas progress is more important than how they sound. It can help to experiment with the way ideas are ordered in the pre-writing stage to establish what makes the best sense. Look at how you initially ordered your ideas when you are revising.
  • Altering a single idea can have an impact on several ideas. Changing a single link in the thought chain can alter the entire chain in a more significant way than one might anticipate. It is essential in every case that ideas are followed to their logical conclusion, and this is one of the reasons that often causes writers to dread revision. If it is possible to change one item, then it is possible that everything could change. Consequently, the product might look a lot different to an initial draft. Instead of fearing change, keep an open mind to the idea of refining and restructuring your work. Your paper should be a lot stronger in the end.
  • In English revision, no single procedure is right. Every paper is a self-contained text by itself – a response to a given prompt. Each paper may have parts that malfunction and these parts will require unique attention and a variety of tools. Still, ensuring that ideas flow in a logical way is the best starting point. And do not forget that revising a paper requires time. Therefore, allow sufficient time to rethink and rewrite.

Even though English revision should be approached on a case-by-case basis, there are some guidelines that can be used to swiftly identify and resolve a number of common issues.

Essay revision plan

Here is a suggested essay revision plan to get you started.  Make a note of those revision issues you want to focus on in the boxes provided. Prioritize the issues by listing those you feel are most urgent or important first, leaving those you think are less important to the last. Now, consider a specific way to address each issue. Ignore issues that concern citation or grammar here because you can address these when you start proofreading. Instead, use this essay revision plan template to defend your chosen strategy even if feedback from your instructor suggests otherwise. Lastly, explain each step in your revision strategy, stating each one’s rhetorical benefit(s). For instance, in what way does the alteration help to better develop the purpose or ethos of your essay?



Revision plan

Benefit (rhetorical)


Omitting the contrary opinion/side of my essay’s argument.

Write a short opposing argument, and determine where this will best fit into my essay.

Logos: This will enable readers to clearly see and follow my paper’s logic.


Feel there is insufficient quotes in my essay.

My plan is to read my paper again to count the number of quotes I have included. I might add a quote to any paragraph that does not already have one for added emphasis.

Pathos/Logos: Where quotes are of a personal nature, they will add emotional appeal (i.e. pathos), while factual quotes will appeal to logic (i.e. the logos factor).


The life-like example I used in my essay is one of an artist who died of severe brain damage. Perhaps this idea is not a very good one?

I will read the section that contains this example again. I may remove the example if it feels inappropriate or drags the paper out.

Logos/Ethos: I feel this example lends my work credibility. However, removing it may highlight the logic in my thinking.


I failed to discuss my findings about sports injuries (obtained via a Google survey), but perhaps I should.

I feel the flow in my paper is quite good as it stands. I may alter this if I feel it could be improved when I read it again.

Ethos: The fact I have  discussed findings from my own personally-developed survey should earn me considerable credibility from my readers.


Did I state my viewpoint concerning the topic correctly and clearly in the appropriate section of my paer?

I plan to ask someone in my family to read my words and give me feedback on my stance and whether they feel I explained it properly in my essay.

Pathos: My aim has been to try and change the emotions of my readers regarding my viewpoint and to persuade them to take my side.


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