General Strategies for Revision


Major Composition Elements

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the claim that your writing makes. Revision entails rethinking your thesis statement.


The development of the composition should support your thesis statement with explicit explanations and enough examples and relevant details to guide readers to an understanding of your ideas.

Ask yourself the following questions to maintain focus on development:


In order for readers to follow the thread of your thoughts, you have to structure your ideas. If you have great ideas but do not present them in a logical order, you end up confusing your readers.

Structuring ideas in a well-organized way can make the difference between confusion and order.

Each paragraph should be unified with a central idea, and paragraphs should be logically ordered and connected. 

Sentence Structure

Make sure all sentences are complete and otherwise grammatically correct.

Use of Words

Examine each word in your composition individually. Use a spellchecker and the dictionary.



There are two major documentation styles: MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association). The MLA publishes the MLA Handbook for Writer of Research Papers manual, used primarily by scholars in literature and the humanities. You also can go to the Web site: for style information.

To use APA format, consult the Publication Manual of the APA. It provides extensive examples covering a wide variety of citation formats. The Publication Manual is available for purchase in many places. Information about APA formatting is available at the following Web site:

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