Revising for Clarity

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					eXcel Lesson 10

Difference between revising
        and editing
What revision strategies
    work for you?
 Consider the Whole Essay

Once you have a first draft, try to go
through the essay as a whole.

Focus on the big picture, not specific
paragraph, sentence or word
      Consider the Whole Essay

   F. Does the essay FIT together?
       (audience / thesis statement / appropriate material)

   A. Do I need to ADD any material?
       (more information / examples)

   C. Should I CUT information?
       (unrelated / uninteresting / unnecessary)

   T. Does a TEST of my information reveal a clear
       (smooth, clear transitions between ideas)        CP 154

  Paragraph Reorganization
      Student Essay ―Efficacy of
      (Course Pack 158-159)

   Read this student‘s essay on echinacea.

   Use post-it notes to write the revision

        Pay attention to the Big Picture!
        Essay Revising Exercise (CP 160)
                            Group Work

1.   What is the essay‘s thesis statement?

2.   Is the thesis clearly worded? Does it seem appropriate for the

3.   Does every paragraph in the paper clearly support the thesis?
     Are there portions of the paper unrelated to the thesis?

4.   Are any of the topic sentences unclear? Did you feel lost at
     any point?

5.   Are there sufficient examples and pieces of evidence to
     support the thesis persuasively?
     Essay Revising Exercise (CP 160)
                      Group Work

6.    What are the paper‘s main strengths / weaknesses?

6.    What questions do you have that are not answered in the

5.    What recommendations would you make concerning the
      revision of this paper?

5.    Other issues?
Was it difficult to focus exclusively
on the whole essay to consider
whether it is well structured?
Create an outline with topic sentences
for each paragraph.
Incorporate into your outline changes
you would make in the structure of the
essay, such as

 • reordering, splitting or joining
    paragraphs (FIT)
 • adding paragraphs (ADD)
 • deleting paragraphs (CUT)
 • TEST to see if your argument is more

‗Fine tuning‘ your writing
               Good Academic Writing

―Vigorous writing is concise…This requires not
that the writer make all his sentences short, or
that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects
only in outline, but that every word tell.‖

— William Strunk Jr., Elements of Style, xv-xvi
Editing for:

    Clarity
    Conciseness
    Forcefulness

                    (CP 86-87)

The writer needs to understand grammar – the rules
of the language. These rules determine how words
are connected to make the meaning clear.

However, you may be able to write grammatically
correct sentences but they may lack style in their

Style--the way you put together a sentence or
group of sentences.

Writers have to choose an appropriate style or tone
that fits the purpose of the communication and the
           Editing for what?

Rule based errors:      Style:

• Grammar               • Word Choice
• Punctuation           • Transitions
• Spelling              • Voice
The Most Common Grammatical Errors in
        University Level Writing

              (From The Writing Centre, Ryerson University)
1. Incorrect Subject-Verb Agreement
          (Singular / Plural)

 This tends to occur if the subject is
  separated from the verb by some
     descriptive word or phrase.

  The moon, as well as Venus, are
  visible in the night sky.
          2. Faulty Parallelism

When words, phrases, or clauses within a
sentence grammatically match, the result is

The strikers read the offer, were discussing
it, and unanimously decided to reject it.
   3. Comma Splice or Run-on Sentence

Two separate sentences are joined with a
comma or run together without any punctuation.

 “The new buildings would be expensive, the
 estimated cost of renovating existing offices
 was half as much.”
     How do you fix it? You can use a:

“The new buildings would be expensive. The estimated cost
of renovating existing offices was half as much.”
“The new buildings would be expensive; the estimated cost
of renovating existing offices was half as much.”

 Comma plus a joining word (a conjunction):
“The new buildings would be expensive, but the estimated
cost of renovating existing offices was half as much.”
     Ways to deal with Comma Errors
4. Misuse of the Semi-Colon

The semi-colon (;) joins two sentences into one.
You must have a complete sentence on either
side of the semi-colon.

Therefore and however frequently begin the
second sentence.

“In 1886, 36,000,000 tons of cargo moved through the St.
Lawrence Seaway; in contrast to the average of 11,000,000
tons in the 1950’s.”
       5. Pronoun Errors - Agreement

A pronoun refers to a noun. Errors often occur
when a pronoun does not agree with the noun that
it is referring to or represents.

 One of the boys who was involved confessed to being at
 the scene. They said that it was only meant to be a prank.
    5. Pronoun Errors – I or me

Often writers confuse the proper use of ‗I‘
or ‗me‘ in the predicate of a sentence.

  “John went to the movie with Ann and I.”
    Word Confusion
        - Some Common Examples
there / their / they‘re                   where / were / we‘re

then / than                               principle / principal

its / it‘s                                affect / effect

precede / proceed                         accept / except

confident / confidant

             For more examples see:
Other things to look for when editing:

•   Wordiness
•   Redundancies
•   Unneeded repetition
•   Empty sentence openings
•   Insufficient or inappropriate transitions

    Exercises - CP 88
 Sentence style:

Integrate short sentences that do not flow together.
Develop compound and complex sentences
(increasing the complexity of your sentence

Create transitions between ideas and use the
correct transition word to express the meaning you
wish to convey.
      Insufficient Transitions

The US invasion of Iraq of 2003 is an historical
watershed. The world's only superpower feels
unconstrained in resorting to pre-emptive military
action to achieve its strategic goals. The term
imperialism has regained common currency. There is
renewed interest in understanding the European
scramble for colonies in the late nineteenth century.

Jenkins, G. (2006). From Kennedy‘s cold war to the
war on terror. History Today 56(6) 39-41.
            In-class Activity
Grammar Exercises

    1. Neither of the female participants revealed the limitations to
    (her/their) partners.

    2. The leadership team joined the president and (I / me) at the

    3. I failed two courses last term because they graded unfairly.

    4. When political parties enrol members, they are able to set the

    5. The biology exam created a great deal of tension among
    students. It was expected.
                             In-class Activity
Sentence structure:
  1. Human rights laws provide support for anti-homophobia programs in
  schools and these programs can have positive effects.

        2. Ordinary people, solving problems effectively, build the conflict-
        resolving community and conflict-resolving communities are the building
        blocks of a peaceful world.

        3. We all recognize that children are not born with a compelling urge to
        hurt others, whether verbally or physically, this is a behaviour they learn.

        4. Cross-cultural understanding has become a primary requirement of a
        healthy in school learning climate, and around the world.

        5. In some ways, the world is like a big schoolyard where we often feel
        powerless to keep the bullies from hurting each other or to stop fights or
        to hurt innocent victims.

Excerpted and modified from Van Gurp, Hetty. ―Teaching Children Peacekeeping.‖ Writing & Reading Across the Disciplines. Beherns et al Eds
        In-class Activity
Word Confusion: Choose the correct word for the
  following sentences.
  1. (Whose / Who‘s) coming to dinner?

  2. Limiting course selection will have many negative
  (affects/ effects) on the students‘ academic

  3. He is well-qualified, but his shyness (affects/ effects)
  his ability to find a job.

  4. (Their/There) research was used as the basis of our
Academic Writing

Communicating and being understood is
 the most important part of wiring.

Words and sentence structures used for
 informal spoken or written
 communication (i.e. personal e-mail /
 MSN / Facebook) are not necessarily
 the ones you use for a written
 university assignment.
Echinacea Essay

Your group will be assigned one or two
 paragraphs. Fix the grammatical and
 style errors in that paragraph or those
The End

Hand in one copy of your group‘s work.

Make sure everyone‘s name is on the

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