While it’s tempting to ask a tutor “what can I do to make my paper better,” it’s more productive for you to help the tutor focus on the most pressing need of your current draft. Experienced writers begin with global issues, such as content and organization, before worrying about sentence-level and grammatical issues. Here are some questions that will help you focus your session:
- Have I met the requirements of the assignment?
- How clearly have I articulated my controlling, or main, idea (thesis)?
- Do my body paragraphs support my main idea? Does each body paragraph provide sufficient details?
- Does the organization of my paper make sense—do my ideas follow a logical order or sequence?
- Have I provided transitions that help the reader understand the relationship between paragraphs and/or between sentences?
- Have I used MLA/APA correctly?
- Have I used the appropriate style and language for an academic paper?
If you are satisfied with content, organization, and style, and are ready to focus on sentence-level editing, identify specific grammar issues you wish to address:
- Do I have any comma splices, fused sentences, or fragments?
- Do my pronouns agree with antecedents?
- Do my pronouns refer clearly to an antecedent?
- Have I confused words such as “their” and “there”?