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Edit Your Essay
Don't hand in your first draft - most essays are dramatically improved by careful redrafting and editing.
Get some feedback
Get some feedback on your essay draft. Ask a friend, parents, or colleague to read it and comment, then make your own corrections based on the feedback. After receiving feedback take time to analyse and reflect on it, whether you agree with it and what changes you might want to make. Remember that all work that you submit should be your own work.
If you need advice, make an appointment with one of our Academic Learning Facilitators .
For writing feedback, please visit Feedback Hub .
Sleep on it
If possible, put your essay aside for a few days before you try to edit. This gives you time to think further about your answer and arguments and return to your work with a fresh perspective.
Don’t panic if you find faults in your essay—this is part of the process. If you find that you need more information, or your argument has holes in it, keep calm and concentrate on fixing the problem.
Once you have a well-organised and complete draft:
- Check the overall structure of your essay ; does it have a clear introduction, body and conclusion?
- Make sure that each paragraph has a clear main point that relates to the argument. Make sure that the paragraphs are arranged in logical sequence .
- Make sure that you have explained the evidence you use and i ntegrated it appropriately .
- Revise sentences. Make sure the words you use mean what you think they mean.
- Check punctuation and spelling. A good dictionary is a useful tool.
- Check transition signals . Be sure that a reader can follow the sequence of ideas from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph.
Questions to ask yourself
- Have I answered the question as directly and comprehensively as possible?
- Does the argument make sense? Is it well balanced and researched?
- Is the evidence relevant to and supportive of my argument?
- Have I used a consistent referencing style?
- Have I referenced all my quotes and paraphrases?
- If there were any special instructions or guidelines for this assignment, have I followed them?
- Have I remained within the set word limit ?
See next: Handing in your essay
Essay and assignment writing guide.
- Getting started
- Research the topic
- Organise your ideas
- Write your essay
- Reference your essay
- Edit your essay
- Hand in your essay
- Essay and assignment planning
- Answering assignment questions
- Editing checklist
- Writing a critical review
- Annotated bibliography
- Reflective writing
- ^ More support
News and notices
UNSW's Education Festival 2023 Published: 6 Nov 2023
The Language Gym
By gianfranco conti, phd. co-author of 'the language teacher toolkit', 'breaking the sound barrier: teaching learners how to listen', 'memory: what every teacher should know' and of the 'sentence builders' book series. winner of the 2015 tes best resource contributor award, founder and ceo of www.language-gym.com, co-founder of www.sentencebuilders.com and creator of the e.p.i. approach., five things i do when i correct my students’ essays.
My Ph.D study,Conti (2004), (as cited in Macaro,2004 and 2005, Ko Yin Sun, 2009, Goonshooly, 2012, Barjesteh, 2014, Cohen and Macaro, 2014, etc.) has provided me with great insight into the strengths and limitations of error correction. The following is a very concise list of what I believe to be the most important strategies to deploy in the error treatment of surface level errors in foreign language writing.
Please note, this is something teachers can afford to do when they have a relatively light timetable or with specific students who are particularly problematic and need a lot of attention. I wouldn’t recommend this approach with every single class and student of yours as it is very time-consuming. In language instructions the focus should be on teaching not on fixing .
1.Focus on the most important issues
No point in focusing on every single error you find in your students’ writing when you are giving individual feedback on their essays. There is only so much attention a student can invest in the remedial learning process. Select only a few errors (3 to 5) at a time using the following criteria
- Errors that can be treated – no point in focusing an absolute beginner learner on mistakes involving the use of the pluperfect … Only treat errors for which the learner is developmentally ready;
- Errors that seriously impact understanding – these errors are the most important to deal with as they mislead the reader;
- Errors that keep recurring and seem impervious to correction – these errors need a lot of attention because once an error is fossilized it is very difficult to eradicate. Since these errors require a lot of work, try and prioritize the ones which, in your professional judgement, are more important (e.g. the ones that mighty penalize a student in a forthcoming exam);
- Errors that the learner would like to eradicate – it is my belief, controversial amongst some colleagues, that the learner should have a say as to what they should address in their remedial learning process. The rationale for this is that since s/he is going to be main the agent in this process, the fact that s/he chooses which errors to target may enhance their intentionality to eradicate error.
Do not address, in individual feedback, errors that are common to most of the class, as they can be the focus of a series of remedial lessons for the class as a whole
2. Find out what the root causes of error REALLY are
One common mistake teachers make in the corrective process, is to give all errors the same blanket treatment (be it direct/indirect correction with or without explanation or editing instruction) as if they were all caused by the same cognitive process(es). A bit like some doctors do, by giving a broad spectrum antibiotic for any kind of infection.
Errors can be caused by either (a) a declarative knowledge failure (the learner does not know the rule) or (b) a Procedural knowledge failure (the learner does know the rule and can self-correct, but did not apply it correctly or forgot to apply it in a given context because of processing inefficiency issues – e.g. cognitive overload, interference, etc.). It is important to identify the correct source of error before dismissing it as a ‘careless’ mistakes. There is usually more to an error than meets the eye.
In my study I used a number of research tools to investigate my subjects’ errors and the best one was definitely asking the students to edit the essays they wrote under think-aloud protocol conditions (i.e. they verbalized their thoughts as they attempted to correct). The knowledge I gained from that process was crucial to the success of my error treatment experiment.
3.‘Make it personal’
In my opinion, like any other type of instruction, error correction is greatly enhanced by making it as personal as possible a process, especially when we are dealing with weaker and/or less confident learners. One-to-one conferences are the best way to start the never-ending dialogue between teacher and student that the corrective process should really become. Using the page or the audio track as an interface between the student and the teacher makes the process much more distant and impersonal; the human contact, on the other hand, especially in the presence of judiciously gauged motivational feedback can do wonders for student’s self-efficacy and intentionality.
Let us not forget that the teacher’s role in the success of any remedial learning is crucial just as it is in any other kind of instruction. I often use the analogy of the person who wants to lose/gain weight in the gym. If you look at the rates of people who carry on training after the first three-four sessions, those with a personal trainer/life coach are less likely to drop out by a whopping 50 %! Why? Because a lot of us need encouragement, reminders, praise and, sometimes, a good telling-off…
When embarking on the remediation process, the teacher needs to take on a role alike the one of a ‘personal trainer’ since, as I shall explain below, errors are not eradicated in one go, it may take months or in certain cases, when an error is fossilized, even years. S/he will have to remind, prod, encourage, push the learner to keep working on the target mistakes.
It goes without saying that like every personal trainer the corrector must be inspiring and empathetic both emotionally and cognitively with the correctee.
4.Ensure there is a serious and sustained cognitive investment on the learner’s part
Several studies including mine have identified lack of student cognitive/personal investment in the error treatment as a major determinant of the failure of corrective interventions. Student writers do not look at the teacher’s corrective feedback and when they do they are superficial and do not follow it up. Teachers often do the same. They do a one-off remedial lesson on finding masses of students making the same mistake, then they move on. What I learnt in the course of my investigation is that for error to be eradicated (as mentioned above) both teachers and students must work hard. The students must put a lot of effort in the process at many levels: research, self-study, writing practice, self-monitoring and introspection.
Scaffolding the feedback-handling process in order to involve the student actively in the process is crucial, in this respect. Feedback-handling activities that students may be asked to perform on receiving feedback include: explaining the teacher correction; hypothesizing why the mistakes was made; describing what the rule that was broken is; producing student-generated examples of that rule across various contexts; produce a mini-lesson to deliver to a group of peers,ect.).
In my study, all of my informants reported drawing great benefits from such activities as they enhanced their self-knowledge as to the mistakes they were more likely to make to a point that they reported looking for those mistakes without much thinking before handing in their written pieces.
Another ingenious way of involving the students in the corrective process is to ask the students to step in before the essay is even completed and the feedback given. How? By asking them to annotate on margin whilst writing the essay any doubt they may have about the deployment of a grammar structure or lexical item. I use this technique a lot and it pays great dividends. This technique, that I call LIFT (Learner Initiated Feedback Technique) is dealt with in greater detail in a dedicated post of mine on this blog (here: ‘L.I.F.T. – an effective writing-proficiency and metacognition enhancer’).
5.Provide extensive practice
Many interventionist studies which involved editing instruction have failed whilst others have succeeded in enhancing grammar and/or lexical accuracy based on their duration and intensity. As already hinted above, learners need extensive practice to eradicate the target errors. Why? Because in learners’ Interlanguage system the wrong and correct representations of a grammar rule that has not been fully or correctly learnt coexist and often have equal weight (or, when the wrong form is fossilized, this will have greater weight). This entails that when the brain needs to apply that specific grammar structure the correct and the incorrect representation will both compete for retrieval. Extensive practice (highly monitored at the beginning) is required for the correct representation of the rule to acquire greater weight until it has become so strong in terms of memory trace to win the retrieval ‘competition’.
The extensive practice envisaged should occur:
- across a wide range of semantic contexts;
- in syntactically simple sentences to start with, moving gradually to more complex and longer chunks of text;
- in highly monitored performances (such as non-timed essays/translations) to start with and at a later stage, in the context of less monitored ones (such as timed essays or oral conversation).
Teachers are very busy people and one cannot always do all of the above as well as they would like to. However, these strategies can make a serious difference, in my personal experience, when applied to error treatment consistently. I suggest, if one does not have the time to do all of the above with every single student one teaches, to implement these strategies at least with the most needy of our learners, or with the ones that currently, in you opinion, are not gaining much benefit from your corrective feedback.
I deal with the issue of correction much more extensively in a research-based article of mine (‘ Why teachers should not bother correcting errors in their students’ writing (not the traditional way at least’) :
More on this topic in the book I co-authored with Steve Smith : ‘The Language Teacher Toolkit’ available on http://www.amazon.co.uk and http://www.amazon.com.
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- 13 Essential Editing Tips to Use in Your Essay Writing
The good student strives constantly to achieve a better essay each time they write one.
It can be a challenge to find ways to keep improving, but one way of making your essays instantly better is effective editing. Editing your essay before you submit it could mean the difference between a good grade and a brilliant one, so it’s worth taking fifteen minutes or so before you send it off just checking through it to make sure that the structure and wording is as good as it can be. In this article, we give you some tips to think about when you’re editing your own writing. Keep these tips alongside you to use as a checklist and you can’t go far wrong!
1. Start by getting the structure right
If you have time, try to leave a bit of time between finishing your essay and starting the editing process. This gives you time to approach it feeling reasonably fresh; if you edit immediately after spending a long time on something, you might find that you’re so close to it that you’re unable to spot errors. When you do sit down to look through it, start by looking at its structure. Think about the overarching shape of the argument you’re developing and check that the points you’ve made help build your essay towards a logical conclusion. You may have written an essay with the points in order of when they occurred to you, but is this really the most sensible order? Does one point follow logically on from the other? Would it make the essay more interesting to include a certain point near the beginning to tease the reader, or are you revealing too much in the opening, meaning it would be better to move some points nearer the end? These are just a few of the ways in which it might be possible to improve the structure, so it helps to keep in mind your overall argument and ensure your structure puts it across as effectively as possible. With word processors now the primary means of writing essays, it couldn’t be easier to rearrange paragraphs into a more logical structure by dragging and dropping or cutting and pasting paragraphs. If you do this, don’t forget to reread the essay to ensure that the wording works with this new order, otherwise you may end up with a sentence leading into the wrong paragraph.
2. Prune long sentences and paragraphs
Whether you’ve exceeded your word count or not, long sentences and paragraphs should be edited because they can be trickier to read, and risk being boring or hard to follow. Try, therefore, to keep sentences to a maximum of two or three clauses (or segments). Avoid long paragraphs by starting a new one if you find one getting longer than three or four sentences: a wall of text can be off-putting to the reader. Leave a space between paragraphs if you’re typing your essay, as we’re doing in this article. Another way of keeping sentences to a reasonable length is to go through what you’ve written and tighten up the wording. If you find yourself writing long sentences, try to look for ways in which you can reword them to express what you’re trying to say more concisely. You’ll probably find numerous instances of phrases that take many words to say what could be said in two or three.
3. Keep overly complicated language in check
It’s going to look obvious if you’ve had a thesaurus next to you while writing, just so that you can replace all the simple words with more complicated ones. The thing is, it doesn’t always make you look intelligent; you may, for instance, inadvertently choose the wrong synonym , not realising that even close synonyms can have subtly different meanings or connotations. Sometimes using big words where simple ones would suffice can seem contrived and pompous; aim for clear, concise language to avoid being verbose or pretentious. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use more complex words at all – just choose the situation carefully and don’t overdo it.
4. Watch for repetition of ideas and words
It’s easy to repeat yourself without realising it when you’re writing, but the editing process is there to enable you to spot this before your teacher or lecturer sees it. As you read through your essay, keep a look out for ideas you’ve repeated and delete whichever repetitions add nothing to your essay (don’t forget that the first instance of the idea may not be the most appropriate place for it, so consider which is the best moment to introduce it and delete the other mentions). On a related note, look out for instances in which you’ve laboured the point. Going on about a particular point for too long can actually undermine the strength of your argument, because it makes you look as though you’re desperately grappling to find supporting facts; sometimes a simple, clear statement with a brief piece of evidence to back it up is all that’s needed. You should be equally wary of repetition of words within the same sentence or paragraph. It’s fine to repeat common words such as “the”, obviously, but it’s best to avoid using the same connecting words, such as “also”, more than once in the same paragraph. Rephrase using alternative expressions, such as “what’s more”. More unusual words should be used just once per paragraph – words such as “unavoidable”, for example – unless it’s for emphasis.
5. Don’t rely on the spellcheck
It’s a tip we’ve told you before, but it’s worth repeating because it’s very important! The spellcheck will not pick up every single error in your essay. It may highlight some typos and misspellings, but it won’t tell you if you’ve inadvertently used the wrong word altogether. For example, you may have meant to write the word “from”, but accidentally mistyped it as “form” – which is still a word, so the spellchecker won’t register it. But it’s not the word you meant to write.
6. Spotting typos
It’s said that if you read through your work backwards, you’re more likely to spot typos. This is probably because it’s giving you a new perspective on what you’ve written, making it easier to spot glaring errors than if you read through it in the order in which you wrote it and in which you know what to expect. So, start with the last sentence and keep going in reverse order until you get to the beginning of your essay. Another tip is to print out your essay and take a red pen to it, circling or underlining all the errors and then correcting them on the computer later. It’s often easier to read a document from a printed version, and it also means that you can follow what you’re doing by touching each word with the end of your pencil to make sure you’re not skimming over any errors.
7. Omit unnecessary words and eradicate weasel words
Without even realising it, you’ve probably used plenty of unnecessary words in your writing – words that add to the word count without adding to the meaning – and you’ll find that your writing works just as well without them. An example is the word “very”, which almost always adds nothing to what you’re trying to say. As Mark Twain said , “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be”. Weasel words are worse, as they are used to hide weak or objectionable arguments. A study of Wikipedia found that these tend to fall into three different categories: numerical vagueness (such as “many people say” without specifying who these people are), the use of the passive voice to distance the writer from what they’re saying (“it is often said”, for example, without saying by whom it is often said), and the use of adverbs designed to soften a point (such as “probably”). Look out for these in your own writing and rephrase to remove them; they are disingenuous and your essay will be stronger without them.
8. Remove tautologies
A tautology is a stylistic error involving redundant words, in this case the use of two consecutive words that mean the same thing, such as “the big giant” (referring simply to a “giant” would have been sufficient to convey the meaning). Students often use them when they’re trying to make their writing wordier, not realising that they simply make their writing worse.
9. Watch the commas
People tend either to put too many commas into a sentence, or too few. Too many, and the sentence sounds broken and odd; too few, and the reader has to read the sentence several times to figure out what you’re trying to say, because it comes out in a long, jumbled mess. The secret is to put commas in where you would naturally pause when speaking aloud. If it helps, try reading your writing aloud to see if it flows. Where you would pause for slightly longer, a semi-colon might be more appropriate than a comma. Use a semi-colon to connect two independent clauses that would work as two separate sentences.
10. Consistent spelling
Some words have more than one correct spelling, and the important thing is to be consistent with which one you use. You could, if you wanted to make your life a little easier, delve into the settings on your word processor and manipulate the spellcheck so that it highlights the version you decided against – or even autocorrects to the right version. If you’re writing in the UK, ensure that your word processor’s default language is set to UK English so that you don’t end up inadvertently correcting English spellings to US ones (“colour” to “color”, for example).
11. Get rid of exclamation marks and ellipses
In virtually every case, you don’t need to use an exclamation mark, and – at least in academic writing – your use of one may result in your writing not being taken quite so seriously. Only use them in exceptional circumstances when you really want to convey a feeling of surprise or outrage. Ellipses (“…”) should also be avoided except when you’re indicating the truncation of a quote from another writer (that is, where you left a bit out).
12. Attribute quotations
Quotations from authors or academic writers should be attributed to them. As you read through your essay, keep a look out for any quotations you’ve mentioned and make sure that you say where they’re from. If you’re writing an essay for university, a footnote would be an appropriate way of citing another writer. If you are using footnotes, this gives an extra area on which to focus your editing skills; ensure that all footnotes are consistently formatted, and don’t forget to put a bibliography containing all the books you’ve used at the end.
13. Consistent formatting
The appearance of your essay matters, too – and the formatting should not be neglected when you’re in editing mode. This means being consistent with your use of fonts, using italics or underline for emphasis rather than using them interchangeably, ensuring that the spacing between lines is consistent throughout, and other such minor aesthetic points. This may not sound very important, but consistent formatting helps your essay look professional; if you’ve used different fonts or line spacing or anything like that, your essay will look a mess even if what you’ve said in it is good. You could make use of the pre-populated formatting options in your word processor to ensure consistency throughout, with header 1 for the title, header 2 for subheadings and ‘normal text’ for the body of the document. If you find that there are too many things on this list to think about in one go when you’re reading through your essay, you could read through it several times looking out for different things each time. All this may seem a lot to think about when you’ve already put in so much effort to write the essay in the first place, but trust us: it will pay off with a sleek and polished piece.
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A Grammar Check for Peace of Mind
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Many teachers and professors use a service to ensure that student papers are original and include properly formatted and sourced citations for all reference materials. For some, this may be a consistent element of their grading process, while others may utilize one only when they feel there is a reason to do so.
What Exactly Does a Plagiarism Checker Do?
If you’ve used an online plagiarism checker before, you may be familiar with the process that these tools employ. For those who have never used one, it can be helpful to understand how these tools work and what you should expect as a result of using one.
The most basic free tools will scan your paper and provide you with a percentage that indicates how much of your work is original. This feature can be useful to a point, as some instructors and institutions set a percentage for the amount of similar text that is considered acceptable. This policy does not mean that they are lenient about academic dishonesty but, instead, that they recognize that similar or even matching word choice is not always an indicator of copying.
However, some schools do not tolerate any form of incremental plagiarism, period. In these institutions, “check paper for plagiarism” is likely a standard action when grading all papers.
With a free plagiarism checker, the percentage of word-for-word plagiarism in your text may be the only feedback you receive. Moreover, some of these providers may wade in unethical waters, and offer essay writing services in conjunction with their checking services. This is why many students and teachers prefer subscription-based checkers that focus on integrity, such as the EasyBib writing tools.
With our premium tools, you get more than just supporting proof that your paper is original and in your own words. Your writing is scanned for potentially matching text and areas that needs your attention is highlighted. We’ll provide you with the source of the matching text so you can review it and decide how to proceed. If you agree that a citation is needed, our citation tools and resources will provide you with the information you need to help format and insert the new sources in your text as well as your works cited page.
How Does the EasyBib Plus Online Plagiarism Checker Work?
The EasyBib Plus writing tool provides an all-in-one spell check, grammar review, and plagiarism checker that not only helps you with the paper you’re writing now but enables you to gain new knowledge and improve your writing for the future, too.
Our essay checker searches online for phrases, sentences, or passages that are similar to those in your paper. If it returns matching text, this may indicate that you have passages that are missing citations.
Just as with many checkers, our tool will tell you how many instances of matching text it finds in your paper. Our plagiarism tool is designed to do more than most free tools, however.
When a portion of your paper is flagged for review, we provide you with the source that it matches. As with our online spell check tool, you have the power to review each area and choose how to proceed. If you decide to cite the flagged text, you can review the suggested source and access our citation tools to help create a proper citation and start building a bibliography for your paper. Or, you may determine that no citation is needed, in which case it’s simple to dismiss the suggestion and continue to the next section.
If you’re unsure about how to proceed, our library of resources can help you learn more and make an educated decision. In this way, you gain more than just the ability to correct your work; over time, you can learn how to avoid plagiarism altogether.
Reasons Your Teacher May Run Your Paper Through a Plagiarism Detector
As stated previously, your teachers and professors grade papers with a fixed process that includes “check paper for plagiarism” as a standard, across-the-board action. Others may check for plagiarism only when they feel there is cause to do so. There are a few red flags that may stand out to them while reviewing a paper that would lead to their running a plagiarism check, including:
Style/Voice: Most teachers are familiar with the style and voice that you use in your writing. While most will hope that the feedback they provide when grading your work will help you to improve problem areas over time, a paper or essay that has a dramatically different style or voice than the work you’ve previously submitted can be a red flag.
Inconsistency: Changes in the font, font size, formality, formatting, and more may indicate that portions of a paper have been copied and pasted. If these inconsistent passages are not presented as quotations or don’t include citations, this may further indicate to your teacher that there’s plagiarism in the paper.
Old References: Part of a well-researched paper is verifying the legitimacy and relevance of your sources. While some older references may be acceptable depending on the topic, if all of your sources are outdated, it may lead your teacher to believe that you’ve recycled your own work or someone else’s.
Looking for a checker to try? With EasyBib Plus you get unlimited checks to give you peace of mind when turning in your papers!
What is Plagiarism?
If you’re looking for a free online plagiarism checker , you’re already aware that it’s not something you want to be found in your papers. However, you may still be wondering: what does plagiarism mean? It’s a reasonable question and one that merits exploring. After all, some of the actions and circumstances that fall within the plagiarism definition come as a surprise to those who only learn that they’ve committed them after it’s too late.
So what is plagiarism? To define plagiarism in the most basic sense, you might say that it is taking someone else’s ideas and words and passing them off as your own.
If your goal is avoiding plagiarism entirely, you’ll need to go beyond the basics to thoroughly define plagiarism, recognize it, and keep clear of it. Some examples of plagiarism that students find surprising include forgotten citations, poor paraphrasing, and re-submitting your own work in whole or in part for more than one assignment. This useful article provides more help in recognizing and understanding the different forms that academic dishonesty can take.
Of course, using your own words and ideas does not count as plagiarism, nor does using common knowledge . Basically, common knowledge is information that is well known by the average person. Examples of common knowledge:
- there are 12 months in a year
- the freezing point of Celsius is zero degrees
- Socrates was a Greek philosopher
So should you only include your original thoughts and common knowledge in your papers? Of course not! Research-based assignments are meant to demonstrate your skills as a researcher, after all, as well as your ability to build upon the work of others to formulate new ideas. To avoid accidentally committing an act that falls within the plagiarism definition when you’re using another person’s words or ideas, though, you need to give them proper credit. This means you’ll need to clearly identify direct quotations or properly paraphrase them when including them in your paper.
Regardless of your approach, you’ll also need to cite your sources according to the style your professor specifies. Generally, you will use MLA format for the arts and humanities and APA format for the sciences, but it’s always best to check with your instructor when you’re unsure.
If you know what style to use but still aren’t sure how to create your citations, don’t fret! Our library of resources includes free guides to help you learn about various styles so you can properly structure and place them. And our premium tools not only help you check grammar, spelling, and originality in your papers, but subscribers also enjoy access to our citation creation tools!
What are the Different Types of Plagiarism?
In addition to the question “what is plagiarism,” you may also be wondering, “why do students plagiarize?” While some students do intentionally plagiarize because they believe they can pass off someone else’s work as their own to avoid spending time on their assignments, many others do so accidentally. They may not understand how broad the plagiarism definition is or they haven’t learned how to research and cite their sources properly. That is why it is vital to recognize plagiarism in all of its forms if you wish to ensure the integrity of your work.
Examples of plagiarism & How to prevent it
Intentionally copying another person’s work without including a citation that gives credit to the source. When most students are asked to identify potential plagiarism examples and behaviors, this direct and deliberate act is what they think of first.
- Prevention: If you use an idea or quote from another source, cite it in the text. Make it clear that it was not your own words.
Copying parts of another person’s work, such as phrases, sentences, or paragraphs without crediting the source. When deciding which tools to use to check a paper for plagiarism , instructors often seek out those that will identify incremental forms as well as instances of direct copying and similar phrasing.
- Prevention : Decide to either directly quote the phrases or sentences you want to use, or write a good paraphrase. In both cases, be sure to add a citation. Using a plagiarism checker could also help you identify problematic passages.
Academic self-plagiarism occurs when a student submits the same paper or parts of a paper for more than one assignment. When your instructors are grading your papers, they’re assessing your research and writing skills in the present. When you submit work that you completed in the past, they are both unable to evaluate your current skills and unaware that you haven’t completed the assignment.
- Prevention: Write a new paper for each assignment you’re assigned. If you feel strongly that your past work could enhance your new paper, speak to your instructor and ask for permission first.
Including a citation for a quote or idea that misrepresents the source material. This can occur if a student does not understand the reference they are citing; if a student includes a citation for a disreputable source; or the source material simply does not align with the idea or argument that the student has attributed to it.
- Prevention: Carefully review your assignment to understand it. As you research, take the time to evaluate each source notes . Remember, it’s better to have quality citations over an abundance of citations.
If a reference in a student’s bibliography is found not to exist, it is considered an invented source. This may occur if a student couldn’t find a reputable source to back their argument, or if they needed to include additional references to meet the requirements of the assignment and chose to take an unethical shortcut rather than completing the required amount of research. No matter the reason, this behavior ultimately hurts them in the long run. Not only will they fail to gain the experience they need to conduct research in the future properly, but they’ll also experience significant consequences if they’re caught.
- Prevention: Set aside time to do proper research so you can find enough sources. Start creating a list of sources as you’re researching and take good notes. This will help you keep track of your sources so none are forgotten. If you do end up forgetting where a quote came from, a paper checker could help you pinpoint the original source.
Patchwriting is often confused with paraphrasing, but there’s a significant difference. When you paraphrase, you demonstrate that you understand the topic well enough to restate it in your own words. When you patchwrite or spin, it is more akin to a word-swapping game; there’s no need to understand the subject, merely to have access to a thesaurus so you can substitute enough synonyms to mask the source material. This can be intentional, but it may also be a result of having a poor understanding of how to paraphrase.
- Prevention: Using your own words, write down the key points of the phrase or idea, and put them together in a sentence. Be sure to include a citation as well.
A good way to test if you’re patchwriting or paraphrasing is to remove your sources from view. If you can write about what you’ve read without looking at the source material, you likely understand it well enough to paraphrase it. If you have to review the source material with each new sentence or consult a thesaurus while writing about it (except when you’re adding direct quotations), you may be spinning your sources instead of paraphrasing them.
Academic Integrity Policies and Statements
If you’re still uncertain about what counts as plagiarism, look for your school’s/ organization’s policies on academic integrity and plagiarism. The policies of academic institutions usually cover what is considered plagiarism, the consequences of committing it, and how to avoid it. One great example is Purdue University’s Academic Integrity statement .
What are the Consequences of Plagiarism?
No matter the setting, plagiarism is not taken lightly, and the consequences can be significant. For a good reason, too! Whether in an academic or professional setting, the plagiarism consequences reflect the seriousness of the act, which is ultimately a form of theft that hurts everyone involved.
Just as with the theft of a tangible object, there can be legal punishments for plagiarism. It is, after all, a form of copyright infringement in many instances. A quick search for plagiarism articles will reveal that professional instances of intellectual theft have resulted in civil lawsuits and can even be criminally prosecuted under rare circumstances. In addition to the possible legal consequences, professionals may lose their jobs or have to start over in a new field after their acts of fraud are uncovered.
As a student, you’re likely to wonder what happens if you plagiarize in college or high school. While there will almost always be consequences for this behavior, there is no one-size-fits-all plagiarism sentence. Depending on the circumstances, academic dishonesty could result in outcomes such as:
- You might get a zero for the assignment in which the infringement occurred.
- You may receive a failing grade for the class. If it is a required course, this could leave you without enough credits to move on to the next level until you can repeat it and, in some instances, postpone graduation.
- You may be expelled from your school or university.
The academic dishonesty may be noted on your transcript, which can lead to you not getting into your preferred college, graduate school, or Ph.D. program in the future.
Nobody wants to be known as a fraud or to have a reputation for dishonesty follow them through their career. And, given the consequences that can extend beyond just their reputation, it’s no wonder that professional and academic writers who wish to avoid them take the time to understand the complete definition of plagiarism and run their work through a plagiarism checker before sending it out into the world.
Even the vigilant can fall prey to inferior tools, unfortunately. Before selecting a plagiarism checker, you should understand how they work and what they can (and cannot) detect.
How We Check for Plagiarism
When exploring how to check for plagiarism, most students and professionals conclude that including a checking tool in their revision process is not only helpful but necessary. When you consider the Herculean task of checking each line of your paper against the text of each of your resources, the benefits of a checker are clear. Moreover, this manual approach would only alert you to matching text in the sources you’re aware of, after all, and leaves the sources you haven’t reviewed untouched.
But, hang on. Why would sources you haven’t reviewed factor into your review? The answer to this lies in the plagiarism definition you learned above. What is plagiarism? It’s presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, intentionally or otherwise. It is not uncommon to uncover an idea while you’re researching a topic and later misremember it as your own. This might even occur years after you originally came across it.
You might wonder: how can plagiarism be avoided if you have to account for the source of every thought you include in your work? A few exceptions minimize the scope of this. Common knowledge about your topic does not need to be supported by a citation, nor does knowledge that you gained through your personal experience. Using a subscription-based or free plagiarism checker will help you locate any passages that may fall into these categories so you can review them and decide for yourself whether a citation is needed.
EasyBib Plus writing tools provide easy, convenient, and reliable support to help you find potentially missed citations and can help you improve your paper into a high-quality paper with integrity. Simply upload your paper, select the checker, then sit back and relax as the site scans your document. In mere moments, we’ll search the web for passages of similar text and highlight duplicate content for your review.
Regardless of the tools you use to help you revise and polish your work, it’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that you’re writing and submitting ethical work. That’s why our tools go beyond the basics and require your participation. The tool never automatically makes changes to your paper, but only flags sections that may need your attention and provides you with the matching source so you can to make an educated decision.
If you find that a citation is needed, our citation tools can help you create properly formatted citations and develop a complete bibliography. And, if you review the passage and determine that the match is coincidental, you can dismiss the alert and move on to the next.
Seamless Citation Creation
Professional writers and students alike can find creating citations incredibly confusing. Nevertheless, they are an integral part of a well-written and researched paper and a requirement in almost all academic settings. But, have you ever wondered why they are so important? Citations really do have a purpose—other than driving us crazy— that make it necessary always to cite our sources.
We cite our sources for a few important reasons:
We need to give credit where credit is due. When you use a quote from someone else’s work, you need to give credit for using their words and ideas. Research is often based on the works and ideas of others. However, to include the words and ideas of another without giving them proper credit is to plagiarize, even if the act was unintentional.
In addition, showing that you’ve done proper research by including in text & parenthetical citations and a comprehensive list of sources to back up your arguments gives your work a layer of credibility that can help you earn the trust of your reader or teacher.
Readers can find the sources you used. When you’re writing high school or undergraduate papers, your only readers may be your instructors and peers. However, including citations at every level of writing helps to ensure that anyone who reads your work can access your sources to check their accuracy, learn more about your topic, and further their own research.
Sources can take your research and learning to the next level, too. When you are conducting research on a topic, checking the works cited or annotated bibliographies prepared by your sources can lead you down new avenues in your research to further develop your ideas and help you write your papers.
Correctly utilizing citations gives strength to your thoughts and opinions. Understanding the value of citations does not, unfortunately, make them any easier to create. We know how confusing it can be, but don’t throw in the towel on learning how to cite websites in MLA , create your APA citation website references, or format your works cited —this is where we come in!
While a free online plagiarism detector may tell you how much of your work is unoriginal and may even identify the passages that meet their plagiarize definition, a premium EasyBib Plus plagiarism checker account also gives you access to our powerful citation resources and generator so you can:
Scan your papers with the plagiarism tool to check for plagiarism-free work before you submit.
Review flagged passages to determine if they meet the plagiarism definition and create unlimited citations in APA format and MLA format for anything fitting the plagiarism meaning. Need more styles ? Check out our regular citation generator for thousands of choices and free resources to help you learn how to create an APA parenthetical citation , APA book citation , APA works cited , and so much more!
Build a full bibliography for your paper right along with your parenthetical or in-text citations, which can save you hours of work along the way compared to manually creating and formatting them.
How Else Do We Help You Improve Your Paper?
The EasyBib Plus plagiarism detector helps you check your content or paper for text that may be missing a citation—which may fall within the definition of plagiarism—to help ensure you don’t accidentally plagiarize. It also includes grammar check and spelling check tools to help identify errors and suggest grammatical tweaks that could help to elevate the level of your writing.
Running a plagiarism check couldn’t be easier! Just upload your paper to the online proofreader, and in a few moments we’ll have your writing and citing suggestions. And, there’s no need to worry about your paper after it’s been scanned.
Run a Grammar and Spell Check for Free!
There’s no denying that your schoolwork can be challenging at times, and your assignments can lead to some late nights even when you’ve started them early. The last thing you want is to submit assignments that don’t reflect your best effort, but it can occasionally be quite the juggling act to get everything done on time.
Why not let our plagiarism checker free up space on your calendar by helping you revise your papers quickly and efficiently? The EasyBib Plus paper checker is your one-stop shop to check for plagiarism, create citations, spot spelling mistakes, and receive feedback on your grammar and style.
When you proofread and do a manual spelling check on work that you’ve written, you’re more likely to overlook mistakes. This is even more likely if you’re pressed for time or trying to complete several different assignments at once. There are tricks to help minimize this, such as reading your work aloud to identify poor grammar or reading each sentence backward to find spelling errors. When time is of the essence, though, these solutions aren’t the most convenient or useful options. That’s why many students seek the assistance of online tools that will run a grammar and plagiarism check on their work.
Are you asking yourself, “ How do I check my grammar online ?” We’ve got the perfect checker for you! Our advanced tools help you find and correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Our targeted feedback and free writing and citing resources help you learn as you go to improve your writing over time.
The best part? You can use our grammar and writing tools any time of the day, any day of the year for! Looking to try it? Just upload or copy and paste your text into our online proofreader for a free grammar check with up to 5 suggestions, or sign up for EasyBib Plus today! EasyBib Plus gives you use of the plagiarism checker and unlimited access to suggestions that can help improve your spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, writing style, and grammar.
Published February 3, 2019. Updated April 9, 2020.
Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Melissa DeVrieze Meyer . Michele is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib. You can find her here on Twitter. Melissa is a professional writer and editor based in New Jersey. She writes for academic brands and independent publishers about writing, grammar, and literature, and creates study and curriculum materials for ESL learners. You can find her on Twitter .
Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.
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Writing That Makes the Grade
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- On Jun 12, 2017, in Tips , by PM team
Writing essays is one of the best things you can do to learn about yourself, your writing and how to effectively send a message in order to be correctly understood. However, their purpose is to help the student to communicate more logically, always making sure that they improve both their writing style and overall skills, in order to make them better professionals.But if you write an essay, you may have some trouble, whether grammar, spelling or any other, you may even need plagiarism detection tool. For this, you can use our “correct my essay” service that will help you improve the writing within your essay and make of any of your academic assignments look incredibly better.
Don`t lose you chance to get what are semicolon and colon , and how to use them. Our essay correction service also helps at creating more sense within your texts and improving the way professors or any other person understands your work.But as any other type of writing, essays can be really hard. Students can have tons of problems while writing an essay, making the edition of texts an almost essential part of every writing assignment, whatever it is you need to do.Take a look at the most common mistakes students make when writing essays and some of the best tips to avoid mistakes. You will immensely improve your essay writing skills and you won`t need to search for someone to edit my essay free.
Common Mistakes and Tips on Writing Essays
When you’re at college, you may be asked to write a lot of types of written works, from essays to term papers, research papers, dissertations and many others. All of these, similar to essays, are of utmost importance to check your type of thinking, writing skills, and a profound understanding of grammar and spelling. So, in order to help you improve a little, we’ve made a list of the most common mistakes some tips on how to fix them while writing essays.
Many students have the problem of writing an essay without being aware of the tense they’re using throughout the text. Sometimes, they start talking in past form about a fact or something that happened before and end up talking about the same subject but in present form, changing the total sense of the statement and even changing the meaning of what was supposed to be said.
Quoting and Not Paraphrasing
Quoting can be very helpful, but paraphrasing is what gives a better understanding of whatever you wanted to grab from another people’s work in order to communicate it more effectively. When you paraphrase on an essay, you can make the content be easily understood instead of quoting directly and making the original content confuse the readers.
The Use of Contractions
Remember that an Essay is a type of academic writing, and when you are not write academically correct, your work may be seen as less serious or just not acceptable at all. So, using contractions may even make you fail in a college subject or just get a bad grade.
Spelling, Grammar and Syntax Mistakes
When you write essays, especially at the college level, you need to avoid mistakes in grammar, spelling, and syntax if you can. These mistakes make your work look really bad and sometimes make you lose an entire period if you’re not aware of them.
Looking for someone to “edit my essay online free”? You’ve come to the right place! You just need to upload your file and click the “correct my essay” button. Use it today and save yourself time and effort!
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How to Edit an Essay
Krystal N. Craiker
The work isn't done when you finish writing your essay. To get the best grade possible, you'll need to edit your paper.
Editing academic writing can be tricky, and good editing involves more than just running your work through an essay checker .
Here are our six top tips on how to edit an essay, so you can get a top grade every time.
How to Edit Your Essay
Where to find essay editing help.
Writing an essay is hard work! Once you put in time researching, outlining, and writing, you want to be sure to turn in a near-perfect essay.
Editing your essay to perfection can be done in just a few simple steps.
Strengthen Your Thesis Statement
The thesis statement is the backbone of your essay . You can think of your thesis statement as the answer to the question or prompt.
If someone asks, "What is your essay about?" the thesis statement would be the one or two sentence response to that question.
The thesis guides the rest of your paper. It's the main idea of your essay. Generally, a thesis statement is just one sentence. That's a lot of work for one little sentence to do in your essay.
When you edit, be sure your thesis statement is strong. A strong thesis will answer the prompt or guiding research question, but it will also be succinct. It should be clear, so eliminate any wordiness.
You should also ensure it aligns with the rest of the essay.
If you wrote your thesis at the beginning of your writing process, your essay might have taken a slightly different track from what you intended. If this is the case, adjust your thesis statement accordingly.
Note that a thesis can be longer than just one sentence, but this isn't typical for a regular term paper–style essay.
If your essay is much longer than average, or it's a write-up of an original experiment or study, you might need more than one sentence.
Your thesis also doesn't have to be a long sentence, although it can be. Rather than worrying about the length of your thesis, focus on whether it is clear and answers the question.
Make Sure Every Argument Supports the Thesis
Every argument or point in your essay should support the thesis statement. In essays, the main arguments make up the body paragraphs.
Sometimes, an essay draft might feature weak arguments or points that oppose the thesis. Perhaps you've included a paragraph that doesn’t fit the topic at all.
Edit without mercy. Look for weak or unnecessary arguments. As you analyze every point, ask yourself if it supports the thesis. If it doesn't, remove it entirely.
But what if cutting out a paragraph affects your word count? You should not have anything in your essay just to add words.
A well-developed and cohesive essay with a strong argument is always more important than hitting the requisite word count or page number.
In fact, if your essay is strong enough, your professors probably won't even notice if you're a hundred words shy. You will, however, lose marks for unnecessary information.
Double-Check Your Citations
Use citations to avoid plagiarism. When you write an essay, it's important that you attribute every fact or idea that you didn't come up with yourself. You must cite it whether it's a direct quote or a paraphrase.
Your professor probably gave you a specific style guide to follow, such as MLA or Chicago.
Not only do you need to be sure you've cited everything, you must cite properly according to the style guide.
Be sure you've added the appropriate spaces and correct punctuation to your in-text citations. Check requirements from your style guide.
Clean Up Your Sentences and Paragraphs
It's easy to add unnecessary words when you're writing. But when you're editing, you want to clean up anything that makes your writing feel wordy.
Being verbose isn't the best approach to writing an essay.
Students often fall into the trap of wordiness in order to sound "smart" or to reach the required number of words. But you'll sound smarter if you can explain your position with tighter sentences.
One area to look at is your connecting words . These are words that help you connect ideas and transition from one point to another.
Keeping transitions to one or two words is a good idea. Instead of saying, "as a further example," you can just say, "furthermore." Say "next" instead of saying, "The next argument is."
Unnecessary words also show up when you over-explain or repeat an idea. Are you saying the same thing with different wording?
Pay attention to your paragraph structure. A good paragraph structure for an essay is:
- A topic sentence
- A piece of evidence (quote or paraphrase)
- A fresh perspective on the evidence
- Closing sentence
You can also have more than one piece of evidence and commentary per paragraph. This general structure will help cut down on wordiness.
You don't need to quote something, paraphrase it , add commentary, and then reword that commentary. Say each thing once.
Check Your Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar errors can make an otherwise great essay get a failing grade. Grammar mistakes affect how clear your writing is.
Don't feel bad if spelling and grammar aren't your strong suit. Many professional writers struggle with the mechanics of a language.
Read through your essay to look for obvious errors, then use an editing software to find more mistakes.
If your university has a writing center, you can also have someone look over your essay to find additional mistakes. This is usually a free service.
A final step you can use for editing your essay is reading it aloud. This technique is a great way to catch errors that slipped past you and an editing program.
You'll be surprised how many errors you can find when you read aloud a final draft. Often, these mistakes are typos, strange syntax, and missing words.
Reading aloud helps you find sentences that are unclear, even if they're grammatically correct.
ProWritingAid is here to help with all your essay editing needs. We're more than a grammar checker.
Our app will help you find unnecessary words, poor syntax, and transition issues. It will point out vague word choices, passive voice, and readability issues.
Unlike other editing programs, you get access to all of our editing reports for free. If you're worried about plagiarism, you can also run a plagiarism check on your essay for a nominal cost.
Using these editing tips and a powerhouse program like ProWritingAid will turn your rough draft into an essay worthy of a top grade.
Want to improve your essay writing skills?
Are your teachers always pulling you up on the same errors? Maybe you're losing clarity by writing overly long sentences or using the passive voice too much.
ProWritingAid helps you catch these issues in your essay before you submit it.
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Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.
Krystal N. Craiker is the Writing Pirate, an indie romance author and blog manager at ProWritingAid. She sails the seven internet seas, breaking tropes and bending genres. She has a background in anthropology and education, which brings fresh perspectives to her romance novels. When she’s not daydreaming about her next book or article, you can find her cooking gourmet gluten-free cuisine, laughing at memes, and playing board games. Krystal lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, child, and basset hound.
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A Guide to Write and Ensure a Quality Correct Essay
Table of Contents
Writing a correct essay can be tricky. Fortunately, we have you covered. Our tips and tricks can help you develop skills to check for spelling and grammar mistakes and highlight them to be fixed.
How Do I Write a Correct Essay?
Correcting your essay is very simple. For a correct essay , start by:
- Rewriting your essay into neat, individual paragraphs
- Reading your essay out loud
- Proofreading to identify what needs to be corrected
- Checking your grammar, spelling, punctuation, and your paper’s layout
- Ensure each section has a clear message that it aims to deliver
- Checking for any needed information that wasn’t in the introduction
- Check to see if anything you want to add or remove
- Make sure your essay is in line with the guidelines
- Check to see if the title of your article is clear and concise
- Make sure you’ve added all the necessary references
These 10 tips can help you write a quality and correct essay. One of the tips that have not been mentioned is headings, sub-headings, and bullet points. They act as a step-by-step guide to help you structure your ideas and write a good essay.
Our handy step-by-step guide can help you structure your ideas and write a good essay. Writing an essay can sometimes need a little practice. That means your essay might not be the best the first time it is written.
There are ways to check if you have written a good essay. Let’s take a look at them.
How to Know If You’ve Written a Good Essay?
To know if you have written a good paper, you should read it over, looking for certain aspects. For example, you can write an essay and not use commas or parentheses correctly.
When you notice this, you will know that you should double-check your writing. A correct article will be easy to spot when reading.
The questions to ask yourself to assess your writing are:
- Have I used enough examples?
- Are there too many examples?
- Have I used too few examples?
- Are there examples from all parts of the paper?
- Have I used examples that are too general?
- Is the writing repetitive?
- Have I used examples for the essay’s main idea?
- Are there unnecessary details?
- Are the points and paragraphs too long?
- Do the facts pertain to the essay’s tone?
If you cannot answer these questions, you can always ask your teacher or whoever is in charge of checking your essay to help! First, go over the article yourself, being as objective as possible.
You may find that you are a bit more critical of your writing than you should be. Or, you could find that you struggle to be objective and are biased. This is when you should ask for help.
Aside from your teacher helping you, there is help that you can get elsewhere to check your essay. Let’s take a look at where you can correct your essay .
Where Can I Check My Essay to Make Sure It’s Good?
To check your essay, you can find online tools to assist! These tools can help you check for plagiarism, grammar, spelling, etc. There are also online resources that you can access to help you proofread. They can edit your essay for spelling, grammatical mistakes, and diction.
Some websites have prepackaged software that can also help you fix business letters, thank you notes, and even resumes! For a correct essay, improve your writing by using an online tool to check if it’s correct and ready for submission.
Can I Get an Online Tutor to Help Me Correct My Essay?
If you struggle with essay writing, yes, it is also possible to get help from an online tutor. To find an online tutor, you need to determine their qualifications first. How did they get their degree? How many students do they tutor, and what is the price of those tutoring sessions?
Ask those questions and find an online tutor who best meets your needs. When looking for an online tutor, make sure that you are comfortable with them. Some online tutors are very skilled at their job, while others lack experience or knowledge and are not as skilled.
The best online tutors will be able to help you with the whole essay writing process. They should be able to point out any problems in your essay so that you can correct them. Some of them are even willing to write the paper for you.
Final Words: Quality Essay Writing for Great Delivery
Writing is a way to express ideas and be understood by the person you’re writing to. When writing an essay, it’s essential to realize that your audience is not teachers.
Instead, think of your audience as publications or any other potential person that might have an interest in reading your work.
The writing should not be too complicated. Assume that the person reading your work has no idea what the topic is. They should be able to understand your work and the main message.
This produces quality writing and makes the delivery of your message so much clearer.
Do not wait until the last minute to get the essay corrected. You’re more than likely going to end up putting it off. This will make it even more challenging to get back to where you should be.
Start working on it now if you believe that you can’t handle this task yourself and aren’t comfortable working to the deadline!
Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.
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