The Ultimate Editing Checklist for Flawless Essays

Writing essays is a key element of the learning process. As a student, you can expect to write different papers on multiple occasions. Writing an essay has its share of challenges, especially when editing. There is no shortcut to a perfect essay, and this article outlines what you need to do to ace that assignment.

Essay Structure

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Academic essay writing follows a laid down format. Having a clear understanding of the required structure is the first step to writing a great piece. Here are the must-have components of any essay:


An introduction draws your reader into your essay and captures the main idea behind your writing. Also, it points out the importance of the topic to the audience. It is essential to ensure your introduction is engaging to grab your reader’s attention from the start.


The body is the bulk of your essay and comprises several paragraphs that build on the subject. Paragraphs should have a relatively uniform length and allow ideas to flow smoothly. They should also incorporate topic sentences to capture the paragraph’s main ideas logically.


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The conclusion is the final segment of your essay. A satisfactory conclusion summarizes and emphasizes the subject interestingly. You can also make recommendations for your readers in the conclusion or make suggestions for the future.

Editing Checklist

Many students and writers generally find editing tedious and boring. Whether you are doing your college entry essay or offering writing services on a platform like, it is necessary to develop an editing checklist to improve your essay writing skills. Here is what to factor in when editing an essay.


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Good quality content wins over the harshest critics and sets you apart from average writers. Writing good content involves looking at various aspects as highlighted below:
Did you understand and follow the instructions correctly?

Understanding what is required of you is key, and you need to take time to internalize the essay instructions before you begin writing. You risk writing out of context and performing dismally by failing to understand the requirements.

Do you know who your audience is?

Whether for academics, entertainment, or information, every form of writing has a preferred audience. Different audiences respond to different tones, and it is vital to use the right tone for your reader. You should know when to use a casual tone and when to stick to a professional one.

Do your paragraphs capture the main idea?

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Paragraphs convey the essay’s arguments and convince the reader to see from the writer’s perspective. Apart from allowing ideas to flow coherently, paragraphs need to have a similar length for uniformity. Also, topic sentences that introduce each paragraph should support the subject.

Do you have smooth transitions between paragraphs?

Ensuring the ideas in your paragraphs have a logical flow is key to writing an excellent essay. Transitional words and phrases come in handy to promote the cohesion of the statements contained in your paragraphs. As you incorporate transitional words, remember to use variation.

Sentence Structure

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Sentences are the building blocks of a good essay or any piece of writing, for that matter. Every single sentence matters. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to ensure your sentences complement your writing:

Are your sentences free from weak words?

The weak words like “probably,” “perhaps,” and “just” add no value to your writing and are referred to as filler words. Filler words water down your writing quality and make it harder for your readers to understand you.

Is the length of your sentences appropriate?

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When writing an essay, it is essential to vary the length of your sentences. Using many short sentences makes your essay awkward. On the other hand, overusing long sentences will make your content difficult to read and comprehend.

Do your subjects and verbs agree?

All your sentences should have a subject-verb agreement to ensure your writing quality remains high. If the subject is singular, the corresponding verb should reflect it.
For example, it is incorrect to say, “The girls go to school early.” The correct way to write this is, “The girls go to school early.”

Are the modifiers in the right place?

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Placing a modifier at the wrong position in your sentences is one way to ruin your writing. It can easily convey a wrong meaning to your readers. Modifiers ought to be used next to the words they modify.

For example, it is incorrect to say, “I saw two dogs on the way to school.” The correct way to write this is, “On the way to school, I saw two dogs.”

Do your sentences have more than one idea?

Some writers incorporate several ideas into one sentence, making it challenging to understand the meaning. Making sure that sentences carry single ideas simplifies writing and makes it easy for the reader to keep up with the text.


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You might get all the ideas right, but you are done by failing to use grammar correctly. Common grammatical mistakes can cost you a good grade, and bad grammar is unacceptable. Here is the grammar checklist for the perfect essay:

Check for spelling errors

Spelling errors are more common than many writers care to admit. Thankfully, editing these mistakes is much easier nowadays with grammar editing tools. You can try Grammarly for editing suggestions. Remember that spell checker easily misses homonyms. For example, whine and wine are correctly spelled yet have different meanings.

Use hyphenation

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Whenever two co-functioning adjectives appear before the noun, a hyphen is required. However, if the words appear after the noun, it is unnecessary to use a hyphen.
For example, “I bought chocolate-covered nuts yesterday.”

Use commas correctly

Using commas when required is essential to avoid ambiguity and make your essay easy to read. In some cases, a lack of commas can have comical outcomes.
For example, it is incorrect to write, “I love cooking pets and kids.” The correct way to write this is, “I love cooking, pets, and kids.”

Use quotation marks correctly

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Quotation marks are essential when introducing speech segments in writing. Whenever you use quotation marks in a sentence, it is essential to know where to place them. Remember that they should always be outside while commas, dashes, and semicolons remain inside.

Writing Style

Your style of writing should be precise and easy to understand. Here are some sure ways to achieve this:

  • Replace weak verbs: various forms of the verb “be” appear weak in sentences. Replacing them with active verbs deemed to be stronger is advisable.
  • Avoid passive voice: excessive use of the passive voice makes your essay less-engaging and gives it an indirect appeal. By using the active voice, your essay is more interesting and readable.
  • Use precise language: stating your ideas using precise words greatly simplifies writing and makes it enjoyable. Using jargon and clichés does injustice to your writing.
  • Eliminate repetitions: using the same words or phrases repetitively within your essay will make your writing dull. It is advisable to read more widely and expand your vocabulary.


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Every student can improve their essay scores by using this checklist. Although it may seem difficult at first, it gets easier once you make it a habit. Writing essays is unavoidable in the academic journey, and while at it, it pays to write high-quality essays.