How to Revise a Paragraph

Focusing on one area at a time makes the revision process easier.

Revising a paragraph can be done by anyone with basic grammar and spelling skills. The key to revising a paragraph is choosing an area to focus on so that the process isn’t overwhelming. LR Communication Systems states, “don't proof for every type of mistake at once—do one proof for spelling, another for missing/additional spaces, consistency of word usage, font sizes, etc.”

Read the paragraph aloud to get a gist of what is trying to be communicated. Reading the paragraph aloud helps you hear errors that you may not catch when reading silently. It also helps you hear the rhythm of the paragraph. Perfect Solutions Editing also recommends “read very slowly and if possible, read out loud.” Correct the paragraph so that what you’re reading makes sense. Move sentences around so that one thought flows into the other smoothly. Take sentences out of the paragraph that are not on the topic of that paragraph. Cross out any unnecessary words. This gives you a readable writing piece that flows, which will be much easier to edit.

Pay attention to capitalization and spelling. Now that the paragraph makes sense and flows well, make sure sentences begin with capital letters and all proper nouns are capitalized. Proper nouns fall into the categories of someone’s name, holidays, names of places, months and weekdays and names of products and companies. During this time also check for spelling. If the beginning of the sentence needs to be capitalized, write a capital letter at the beginning of the word. If a word needs to be spelled correctly, write the correct spelling either above or below the misspelled word.

Check the punctuation. Once the paragraph makes sense, capitalization and spelling have been reviewed, check the punctuation. Make sure sentences are ending with the correct punctuation mark and commas are used correctly. Telling sentences end with a period, asking sentences end with a question mark and exclamatory sentences end with an exclamation point. If a sentence needs a punctuation mark, write it where the punctuation mark should be. For example, if a question mark is needed, write it at the end of the sentence.

Reread the paragraph again. After everything has been corrected, reading the paragraph aloud helps ensure that all errors have been corrected and that the paragraph reads smoothly.

Audrey Akins began publishing articles in 2002 as a contributing writer for her college newspaper. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and also has a master's degree in education.