Those who have been through the ecstasies and agonies of writing an essay knows the satisfaction (and sometimes the sadness) of finishing. Once you have done all of the work of figuring out what you need to express, coming to an arguable and interesting essay writier thesis, analyzing your evidence, organizing your thinking, and contending with counter-arguments, you may believe that you’ve got nothing left to complete but run spell-check, print it out and await your professor’s response. Exactly what spell- check can not discern is really what readers that are real think or feel once they read your essay: where they might become confused, or annoyed, or bored, or distracted. Anticipating those responses may be the job of an editor—the job you are taking on as you edit your own personal work.
While you proceed, understand that sometimes what may seem like a small problem can mask (be a manifestation of) a larger one. A phrase—one that is poorly-worded seems, say, unclear or vague—may just need some tweaking to fix; but it may indicate that your thinking hasn’t developed fully yet, you are not exactly sure what you want to state. Your language might be vague or confusing because the basic idea itself is. So learning, as Yeats says, to « cast a eye that is cold on your prose is not just a matter of arranging the finishing touches on your essay. It really is about making your essay better from the inside (clarifying and deepening your opinions and insights) and from the outside (expressing those ideas in powerful, lucid, graceful prose). These five guidelines will help.
Read your essay aloud .
We can sometimes lose sight of the larger picture, of how all the sentences sound when they’re read quickly one after the other, as your readers will read them when we labor over sentences. Whenever you read out, your ear will pick up a number of the problems your eye might miss.
While you read your essay, recall the « The Princess additionally the Pea, » the story of a princess so sensitive she was bothered by an individual pea buried underneath the pile of mattresses she lay upon. (suite…)