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Essay Checklist


  • Do you have a thesis? _____ 

  • Is your thesis clear and concise? _____ 
  • If you are answering a mid-term or final exam essay question, does your thesis directly and clearly address the question being asked? _____

  • Does your paper have an introduction, a body and a conclusion? _____ 
  • Is every single one of your paragraphs directly and clearly related to your thesis? _____

    Do each of your paragraphs start with a transitional sentence? (A transitional sentence makes reference to the topic under discussion in the previous paragraph while at the same time introducing the topic of your new paragraph.) _____ 

    Is the topic of your paragraph directly and clearly related to your essay thesis? _____ 

    Is every sentence in your paragraph directly and clearly related to the topic of the paragraph? _____ 

    Is each sentence in your paragraph clearly linked to the one that comes before and after it? (Have you used linking words or phrases such as “for example,” “additionally,” “in addition to,” etc.?) _____ 

    Have you used plenty of concrete, specific examples to back up your assertions? _____ 

    Have you analyzed, or interpreted, your concrete, specific examples so that your reader knows what they are meant to indicate? In other words, what do you want your readers to notice in this quotation? Have you explained how the quotation relates back to the topic of your paragraph or to your theses? _____

Have you used correct grammar? _____

Are all of your sentences complete sentences? _____

Does every last sentence make sense? _____

Do you know the meaning of every word you have used, and have you used all of these words correctly? _____

Have you defined unusual or historically specific words or concepts? _____

Is your entire essay in the past tense? (If you are discussing a piece of art or literature in great depth, see me regarding exceptions to this rule.) _____

Have you avoided using the word “I” except possibly in your conclusion? _____

Final Thoughts 

Is your paper double-spaced throughout? _____ 

There should be no extra spaces between you paragraphs—are there any? _____ 

Did you indent each paragraph? (Hit your keyboard “Tab” button once.) _____ 

Did you spell check? _____ 

Did you proof read your essay? _____ 

Did you have someone else proof read your essay and tell you where they got lost or confused? _____ 

Is the paper you are ready to turn in neat, clean and stapled together? _____
Last updated: 1/19/2010 12:45:23 PM