“Rewriting is the essence of writing well: it’s where the game is won or lost” – William Zinsser, from On Writing Well.

Revising and editing go hand-in-hand and are critical steps in preparing your paper for submission. Revision is focusing on your paper as a whole by making substantial changes to your paper (i.e., moving paragraphs around, cutting unnecessary information, adding transitions, etc.). Editing is focusing on sentence-level issues (i.e., cleaning up spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors).

These phases take time so be sure to plan accordingly. It’s recommended that you set your completed draft aside for a few days and then come back to it to make revisions. This will help give you a fresh perspective. When you’re ready to revise, take a look at this handout for a checklist of tips. Here are some questions to ask yourself during the revision phase.

During the revision process, you may find that you have to delete sections of your paper or re-write them completely. Don’t be discouraged – every writer has to revise and edit their work. Taking the time to look at your paper with a critical eye will help ensure that you submit your best work.


Why revise? (48 sec.)
The hard work of global revision (57 sec.)
Basic ideas (1 min. 38 sec.)
Organization (59 sec.)
Cutting (52 sec.)
The benefits of local revision (1 min. 03 sec.)
Paragraphs (1 min.)
Sentences (1 min. 59 sec.)
Words and phrases (1 min. 16 sec.)
Tell me more: Words and phrases (2 min.)
Formatting (49 sec.)
When are you done? (34 sec.)

More Tools to Help

PDFiconWC64x64Revising and Editing Questions
This handout gives you suggestions of questions to ask yourself as you revise and edit your paper.

LINKiconWC64x6412 Common Errors: An Editing Checklist
Link to the University of Wisconsin’s Writing Center’s checklist to help you avoid common writing problems.

LINKiconWC64x64Grammar books from Learning Express Learning Express offers a variety of grammar-related books to help you review grammar basics and improve your skills.

PDFiconWC64x64Sample peer review forms
Check with your instructor or your course information to see which peer review form to use, Form A or Form B.