Check the next-to-last draft of your writing for:
Sentences and Words
1. Is each sentence complete?
2. Have you eliminated unnecessary jargon and substituted plain English?
3. Have you substituted pretentious academic or bureaucratic language with language that sounds more natural and conversational?
4. Have you eliminated vague or overused words or expressions? (For example, have you used today's society, several aspects or many things?)
5. Have you eliminated strings of little words? (For example, have you used such phrases as the following: to change policy in regard to that problem at this point in time?)
6. Have you woven your sentences together?
7. Is every word indispensable? Could you cut needless words?
8. Have you varied your sentence structure?
9. Have you overused passive voice? ("It is seen" vs. "I see.)
10. Have you used strong verbs and nouns, vs. weak verbs and nouns coupled with unnecessary adverbs and adjectives?
1. Have you checked for typos and incorrect spelling?
2. Have you checked a writing handbook for questions you have about punctuation or capitalization? Have you referenced a research writing handbook for questions about documenting your sources? See Online Writing Resources for more clues.
3. When you use pronouns like she, her, he, him, they, them, it, which, or that, can you find the specific words earlier in the text to which these pronouns refer?
4. When you use the word you in your text, do you intend to be more personal in tone or more directive, or are you lapsing into this method of expression unconsciously? Use the second person you throughout your paper or not at all.
5. When you have a singular subject for your sentence, is your verb singular as well, even though it is removed from the subject? Do plural subjects have plural verbs?
6. Is your verb tense consistent throughout the paper? Many papers written in APA or ASA styles, for instance, use the past tense. However, papers written in the humanities use MLA style, and the present tense is preferred.