Check Organization Content And Elaborationcommentary


Strong Opening or Lead:

Clear Thesis Statement or Position


Content and



Good Ending:

Does your title raise the reader's interest and reflect the content of the paper? (You may be able to find a line or a phrase within your paper that can be pulled out to make a good title, or you may be able to write a title that is ironic or insightful now that you have completed a draft.) To help you compose the best title, write as least five or ten different titles for your paper. This helps you decide which one is the best and most focused.

Have you caught your reader's attention and given the reader a purpose for reading? Write your first sentence at least five different ways until you have the best one.

Does the thesis fit with the paper? Do you need to change the thesis or write a new one now that you have completed your thoughts? If you are answering a prompt, does the thesis serve as a short answer to that prompt?

Ask yourself as you write: "What did I want to prove?" and "How does what I just wrote help me prove my point?" If you are writing an autobiographical or reflective piece, does the paper get across the feeling or thought that you intend—do the parts all work toward your intended effect?

Did you outline your ideas before starting? If not, or even if you did, take your rough draft and, using its paragraphs, made an outline to ensure each paragraph has a main idea and that idea relates to the thesis.

Can a reader easily follow the parts of your paper without encountering gaps?

Does the paper follow a logical pattern for its purpose? Have you arranged the ideas and events in the most effective order? Have you used clear transitions between paragraphs so that the reader knows where you are in your argument or in developing your thesis? Have you used clear transitions within paragraphs? Is the reader sure how each idea follows from or connects to the previous idea? See Transitions.

Have you given the reader enough details, descriptions, examples, reasons, etc., to be convincing?

Are all the details, etc., accurate, relevant, and specific? Do you "show" as well as "tell?"

Have you fully explained the importance or meaning of each detail that you use (commentary)? Have you answered the reader's possible questions about why you included your examples, etc.? Have you identified the speaker, given the context, and interpreted the meaning of quotes that you use?

Will the reader be satisfied?

Will the reader take away any new thoughts or insights? Does your conclusion bring closure to or refer back to your lead?


Have you used:

• Smooth in-text references?

Have you avoided:

• Wordiness or repetition?

Sentence variety-not too many short, choppy sentences or long sentences? Parallel structure?

Dead words? Cliches?

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