Personal Essay Revision Assignment



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Your colleagues will read your essay. Your colleagues will read your essay.


Personal Essay Revision Assignment

Read this entire handout, start to finish, the whole thing, every word, before you get started. There’s a link to this at the website. This one stays here at school.


Due Date: Thursday 9/30 (A) / Friday 10/1(B)

Format: Times New Roman, 12 pt., double spaced, at least a page

Point Value: 25
Assignment: Everyone will revise the two-paragraph essay (the one that describes you from the perspective of your friends and family). Writing is a process. Learning to write is also a process, and revision is part of the process. Many of you will not have much revising to do. Others will need to spend more time on their essays. The idea is to take what you have done so far and make it even better.
The requirements for this assignment are more detailed than those for the first draft.
Directions: Revise your two-paragraph essay according to the guidelines below. Type it in 12 pt Times New Roman. Double space your lines. Really double space it.

Guidelines for revising:
_____ Paper is at least a page in length. Points will be deducted for the percentage that

the paper falls short of the minimum length.


_____ Paper is typed in 12 point Times New Roman, double spaced.
_____ Essay features at least one example of dialogue per paragraph.
_____ Correct all grammatical errors and misspellings, especially "a lot” and the theres.
_____ Check for complete sentences.
_____ Check for clarity. If a sentence or paragraph does not make sense to you, it probably does not make sense to me, either.
_____ Check for run-on sentences and fragments. Ask someone to proofread for you.
_____ Eliminate, meaning expunge, the following words: very, nice, great, all-around, basically, sort of, kind of, type of, always, random, and you.
_____ Verify that each paragraph begins with a topic sentence that clearly relates to the content of the paragraph and helps your reader to see where you are going. (I am allowed to use "you" in this case because I am addressing each of you, in a sense, directly.)
_____ Avoid repeating phrases, such as "My friends say that I am helpful because I enjoy helping them out when they need help in time of need and helping around the house a lot."
_____ Vary your sentence structure, so that you do not find yourself writing "My family say that I . . . ." several or more times.

_____ Convert contractions (I'm, they're, doesn't) back to their original form: I am, they are, does not. We want to avoid contractions in formal essays.


_____ Correct any shifts in verb tense. Make it easy on yourself and write the whole thing, except for historical episodes, in the present tense. It sounds better.

_____ Reflect on adjectives that describe you well--not only what you do, but also who you are. While I am certainly interested in your interests, I am also looking for vivid images that tell me who you are as a human being, and not just a human doing.


_____ Choose one quality in each paragraph to develop with a specific example. This is a description of yourself doing or saying something that conveys an aspect of your personality. Many of you have already done this. I will be looking for one specific example in each paragraph.
_____ Develop your points. Many essays feature brief, general statements with little or no explanation. Bring the essay alive with specific words and examples. Support the points you make with substance. A good essay does not leave the reader hanging.
_____ Finally, read over what you have written and ask yourself whether you raise any obvious questions in the mind of your reader, or whether you leave any questions unanswered. For instance, if you write, "My friends say that I give good advice," explain this and clarify it.
Try to write the whole thing without adverbs. Most adverbs end in “ly.” There are exceptions, but it’s the “ly” ones that get overworked.

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