How to edit an essay
Many students race through their work and hand it in too quickly. Our tutors will help your child learn that being “finished” doesn’t just mean the writing itself is done. It means the work is printed out and read aloud, pencil in hand, for both logic on one hand and grammar and usage on the other.
Any constructive writing class will help you avoid certain pitfalls when it comes to writing an essay. Our tutors often see the following problems:
Homophones and apostrophe usage. Whether or not your child struggles with spelling, homophones tend to be difficult, high-frequency words. For there/their/they’re, students often benefit from old-fashioned repetition of the usage of each of these words contextually, and also with fun and helpful hints or mnemonics. For example, they can remember that “there” is location-based because the word “here” is part of it. Even college student essay tutors will bring these up frequently.
Incomplete or run-on sentences. Instead of inundating your child with a barrage of grammar rules you vaguely remember from your childhood—“Never split infinitives!” “What does that mean, and why?” “I’m not really sure!”—our teachers will focus on the very basics. We will help your child find a verb (usually an action word) and a subject (person, place, thing, or idea) that “does” the verb. As long as there’s a clear subject for each clear verb, the sentence will be complete.
Run-on sentences are also common in middle school writing. Say you’re looking for a 5th grade writing tutor. We will be able to help students see that, contrary to what many believe, run-ons don’t need to be long. To determine if the sentence is a run-on, it is often helpful for students to ask themselves if they can replace a comma with a period. If the answer is yes, the sentence is a run-on. (This type of run-on is called a comma splice.)
Ambiguous pronouns (especially “this”). As a rule, “this” and “that” should always be followed with a noun to make the antecedent (or subject being referred to) clear. Any great tutor for essay writing can provide a list of such examples, but writing tutors for college students should especially focus on eliminating this vague type of construct.
Accidental word repetition. A middle school writing tutor can help students edit to make sure words aren’t repeated in the same sentence—or even paragraph—unless necessary. The best way to catch repetition, and to make all edits for that matter, is to ask your child to read her work aloud. It doesn’t matter if anyone else is listening; hearing the text will allow them to catch easily avoidable errors and improve their writing.
Clichés. The first time someone said the phrase, “It’s raining cats and dogs,” can you imagine the effect it had? Picturing actual cats and dogs flying through the air and landing on cars, houses, the street? That’s a lot of rain! A 4th grade writing tutor can explain that now that the expression is so common, people hear it and just see the rain. Students should avoid expressions that are so overused as to have lost their meaning, and instead use their own words to describe a specific phenomenon.
Weak verbs and nouns with adverbs and adjectives. If you’re looking for a 3rd grade writing tutor, you might want someone who can explain that “Mansion” is better than “big house.” “Sprinted” is better than “ran quickly.” Help your child learn to find the most precise, efficient, and compelling way to express her thoughts.
Lack of variety in sentence structure. Many students repeat the use of a simple sentence structure of subject + verb + object. There are myriad ways to make revisions, but a high school writing tutor can show how it’s helpful to think about starting sentences with dependent clauses or -ing verbs (gerunds) that allow for different sentence con- structions.
If you’re looking for online writing help, our tutors are happy to work with you through Zoom or Google Classroom anywhere in the world.