Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rewrite, Revise Pt. 2

In college courses, revision is particularly imperative. There are many great papers which were hurt by a lack of revision. The best protection for good ideas and high grades is revision. Revision begins down at the single-word level. This short essay will seek to explore how writers can begin to tackle these problems at the fundamental level of the word.

This method first involves combing through an essay to eliminate the useless words, redundancies, and other distractions. An earlier essay covered this issue.

Students have been known to use misuse words. This happens quite often in student papers and is not something to be ashamed of. Rather, it's something which can be corrected easily enough. 

Papers need to be combed through sentence by sentence. Where unusual or new words have been used, a dictionary can be consulted to check their meaning. Sometimes a word will sound familiar, but "doesn't look right?" Here, a writer may have homonym trouble.

Word processors are wonderful tools for writers to speed up their work, yet spell-check won't catch homonyms. Homonyms are words which sound the same but which have different meanings. Was a reference sited, or was it cited? Was the affair elicit or illicit? Here, a dictionary will help any writer clear up possible confusion.

There are often troubles with the forms of "there."

Their: possessive form of they
They're: contraction of they are
There: indicates a place in a literal or figurative sense - if you're unsure of your usage, consult a dictionary

Chances are that instructors will give students some leeway on these little foibles. It's hard to catch homonyms in particular. However, if the term is a main part of a thesis or otherwise pertinent to the central meaning of a paper, there could be points taken off.

Of course, many students will want to know how to possibly avoid some of these problems. One way is to constantly study words and to build one's vocabulary. Word-of-the-day  calendars can help. Extensive reading will help, as well. Reading more challenging novels or works of nonfiction is a good exercise, if the reader keeps a dictionary handy to look up the difficult words.

In everyday life, a growing writer can keep a small notebook handy for various words or phrases which are unusual, unknown, or simply interesting. Writing these items down will help instill them in the writer's mind and enable her to revisit them later with a dictionary to further study their meaning.

Finally, students need to make good use of the style guide recommended by their institution. These books are dry, boring, and catch a lot of dust. However, they are crucial for the budding writer who is seeking higher grades and more effective communication.

In conclusion, revision begins with the words. They form the basis for all writing and so writers must come to terms with the various trouble these words pose. Further, writers need to come to terms with the full meanings of words in order to fully convey the meanings of their theses.

It sounds simple, it is simple. It is not easy.

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