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Tips from a Dissertation Editor: How to Revise Your Paper in a Proper Way
When you are working on a paper, it is imperative that you recognize that you are going to be judged on standards of spelling, technical criteria, neatness, organization, etc… It is not uncommon for teachers to give a paper a bad grade even if the research and analytical presentations are on par, but the paper is full of grammatical or spelling issues. As such, it is important to revise and edit your paper throughout the writing process, to ensure a better grade. So when editing your dissertation, be sure to check for the following stylistic considerations:
- Watch the sentence structure. You might assume that complex and unnecessarily long sentences are the symbol of profundity. But really, they are just cumbersome. You can use simple sentences. They are just as powerful. You want variety of course, so change it up here and there. But do not take this too far. A good rule of thumb is to limit any sentence to two lines. If your sentence has two commas, then perhaps it might be better understood if you broke it down.
- Rely on active tense and action verbs if appropriate. These will generate more interest in your final piece.
- Use standard English. This should go without saying, but it is being said anyway. Avoid any colloquial phrases. These will not create a positive impression.
- Avoid having too many sentences that start with adjectival clauses or adverbial phrases. These are sentences that start with a short phrase at the beginning, followed by a comma. On that note, try and avoid too many sentences that start with “however” or “for instance”, etc.. Obviously there is a time and place for these, but you want to take heed that not every other sentence is like that.
- Check the length of your paragraphs. If your entire page is one paragraph, you should consider breaking it up. Look for redundancy or the presentation of two key ideas in one paragraph and break them up. Rework your paragraphs so that unnecessary text is removed and multiple ideas are separated into single paragraphs. Remember too, that some paragraphs can be too short. If you have one or two sentences only in a paragraph, you will want to better explain the topic or develop the argument.
- Rely on good transitions in between your paragraphs. Make sure the reader can easily get from one thought to another.
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