Revision Tips 2

Revision - to re-vision or re-see your work.  If you have forgot this lesson, review it here.


Read your work over several times, each time for a different focus.

First read to find words that could be more specific: nouns.

Second, read to find words that could be more active: verbs.

Third, read to add details: sensory, 5Ws, 5Es


1. Names :  



Read over your first draft.   Where can you be more specific and precise in your nouns?   Add details!    Examples:

Instead of:                         Revise to :

A woman                            Ms. Sanchez

Someone                            a stocky young man

Dog                                    poodle

Shoe                                   Nike Hikers

Floor                                  purple tweed carpet

2. Action Verbs:  


Replace boring and dead verbs with action and strong verbs.


Reminders: appositives, move the adjective, rearrange the sentence, drop dead verb and-ing, add action


Examples :

Appositive :   My friend, a star athlete, passes the basketball like a professional.

Move adjective :   The kid is kind.   The kind kid greets everyone with a smile.

Rearrange :   The box is filled with pencils.   The pencils fill the box.

Drop –ing :   The cats are hiding in the box.   The cats hide in the box.

Add action :   The boys are in the gym.    The boys play basketball in the gym.


Also remember the magic words:   exist, include, contain


3. Details :  


Add details that create images for the reader, especially sensory images and descriptions.   Add evidence to prove your point.



Sight: A man                        a stocky, blonde young man

Sight: Stuff (in my purse)               lipstick, eyeliner, coins, pictures

Sound                     Boom!   Swoosh!   Plop!    Tooweet!

Touch             The uncomfortable, yellow, plastic desks, cold as ice and hard as steel, discouraged us from drawing.

Smell                      Moldy fish odor emitted from the open cupboard door.

Similes                   He dashed through the abandoned house like a giraffe.

5W's                      Who, what, when, where, why

5E's                       Examples, Evidence, Elaboration, Explanation, Experience


Rule of Three                Give three ideas to prove your point.

A jeep is the best choice for me. Jeeps travel off-road, drive easily in four-wheel drive, and provide ample storage space.

                              Give three examples for each idea.

Travel off road examples: up mountains, through fields, over small creeks


 4. SHOW, don't tell.  


Use action and dialogue.



Action :  

Instead of: The cat is mean.               

Revise to : The black and white cat hunched its back, hissed, and leapt across the room as fast as lighting.   It bat at the spaniel's nose, leaving a deep cut from the scratch.


Revise more with dialogue :            

Boxy, the cat, thought, “That'll teach that mutt to enter my space.”

“Wait until my master leaves.   I'll chase that cat into a corner and…,” sneered Angus, the spaniel while his master snapped his leash.

5.  Cut the clutter.  


Eliminate extra words.   Be concise.



There were ten people in the room.     Ten people worked in the room.

It was starting to be dark at the basketball courts.       Darkness covered us at the courts.

6.   Vary sentence length and structure .  


Start with the ends of sentences; make some sentences short and others long.



I swooped over the opponent while my teammate passed the ball to me.

While my teammate passed the ball to me, I swooped over the opponent.


I grabbed the ball.   I sighted the basket.   Swoosh! Three points! My teammate and I smiled as we broke for time-out.  

7.    Add transitions


Add transitions—within paragraphs and between paragraphs (see your transition lists).

8.   Check for clarity :


  Is your essay easy to understand?   Is it organized logically—related ideas all together in one paragraph?   Most important point last?

9.   For persuasive writing :  


Have you included logical arguments and language (rhetorical questions, bandwagon, testimonials, personal experience, direct audience appeal)?   Did you include counter-arguments?   Is your most important argument last in your essay?


Remember to include:



Grabber Beginning (rhetorical question, interesting fact, personal experience)

Thesis Statement (3-point)



Tie to introduction

Main point

Leave with thought : (connect to reader, call to action, ask question)



Adapted from: NWP Quarterly from 2004, "The Best Way to Teach Good Writing is One Step at a Time," by Randy Koch