Business Writing: An Introduction

Review and Revision Checklist

The following list of questions is a guide to help you review and revise your writing. The questions themselves are in no particular order and may be tackled according to your own preference. Every writer works differently. Start with what makes the most sense to you, or what you are most comfortable with, and proceed from there. Regardless of where you begin, be meticulous. Have your outline handy and refer to it as you work.

  1. Is your document complete? If not, what is missing? Does it begin with an appropriate opening or introduction? Does it end with a logical conclusion? It is not unusual for these items to be left out until the body of the document has been drafted.
  2. Does the content of your document read with a sense of unity and coherence? If not, why? Are the transitions between paragraphs weak? Is the point of view consistent? Unity and coherence will be evident when each sentence in a paragraph advances the main point stated in the topic sentence, and each paragraph advances the main topic of the document, and each of these units is clearly related to the one before it and the one following.
  3. Do the most important points in your document stand out from the lesser ones? If not, how can they be repositioned? The proper emphasis and subordination of ideas can be achieved through changing their placement within a sentence, paragraph or document.
  4. Are the ideas in your document clearly stated? If not, what obstructs their clarity? Is your word choice appropriate throughout the document? Have new or unfamiliar terms been properly defined or explained? Are there any phrases that obscure the clarity of your ideas?
  5. Is your document presented in an appropriate style? If not, how can it be corrected? Is your voice active or passive? Is your writing positive or negative? Is the pace appropriate? Style is concerned with readability, the manner in which a document is written, rather than its substance. Good writing style helps the reader comprehend the substance of your document.
  6. Does your document sound awkward? If so, how can its content be better articulated? Is your tone consistent? Read the document out loud or have one of your associates read it to you rather than relying on your inner ear. Listen for the natural rhythm of the spoken word. Are there any grammar, punctuation or spelling errors? Recognizing and solving these kinds of problems will smooth out the rough edges of your document and improve the natural flow of your ideas.
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