1. Re-read your document. Find a sentence that you could use as the controlling idea or bottom line of your document. You may also write a new sentence if you wish.
Example: Thomas’s document jumps from one idea to another, but once he reads it again, he finds the sentence he wants to use as a controlling idea: “Telecommuting has economic benefits for employers and employees.”
2. Once you have your controlling idea, highlight all the areas in your document that are on track with your controlling idea or bottom line.
Example: Thomas finds a few sentences that are on track with his controlling idea, including these:
“Telecommuting allows a business to operate in a smaller space since some of its employees will be working from home.”
“Telecommuting gives people who are disabled or challenged or non-traditional greater access to employment.”
3. Integrate key words from your controlling idea into your supporting details. In addition, use transitional expressions to connect your thoughts.
Example: Thomas still has to make sure that the ideas in his document are connected, so he uses key words from his controlling idea as well as transitional expressions to connect his thoughts: “An economic benefit of telecommuting is that it allows a business to operate in a smaller space since some of its employees will be working from home. Similarly, disabled, challenged, or non-traditional employees benefit economically by gaining greater access to employment.”
1. Re-read your document. Highlight sentences that demonstrate a lack of adaptation to the audience.
Example: Alicia reads her document and finds a couple of sentences that she realizes would make smokers angry and non-cooperative, definitely not the purpose of the document: “Smoking is bad for you. The management of XYZ company is no longer going to support it.”
2. Pay attention to the audience’s knowledge, needs, beliefs, and/or feelings.
Example: Alicia has to do a lot of work to revise the above sentence. Notice how the sentences below show empathy and respect for all involved while still maintaining management’s authority: “The management team at XYZ company acknowledges how difficult it is to quit smoking, despite the health benefits of doing so. As we evaluate the smoking policy and health care coverage in regard to smoking cessation programs, we will consider the rights and responsibilities of all employees — those who smoke, those who are trying to quit, and those who do not smoke.”
1. Re-read your document. Highlight one or two ideas that can be further developed or expanded.
Example: Michelle finds this sentence in her document: “All presenters should know who their audience is.” She realizes that she needs to add details to her idea.
2. Brainstorm details such as reasons, explanations, facts, or arguments that can support each idea.
Example: Michelle brainstorms, focusing on reasons that presenters should know who their audience is:
“Make presentation on technology relevant to audience.”
“Assess what applications audience may already know.”
“Pay attention to diversity of audience; for example, seniors versus fifth graders.”
3. Now incorporate some or all of the supporting details you brainstormed into your document.
Example: Michelle adds minor details and uses transitional expressions to incorporate two of the supporting details she brainstormed into her document: “All presenters should know who their audience is in order to make their presentation relevant to the audience. For instance, in planning a presentation on emerging technology, the speaker assesses that a group of fifth graders will understand new, slang technology terms more readily than an audience of 60 to 80-year-olds will.”
1. Re-read your document. Highlight at least two areas where you can include relevant business concepts or terms.
Example: Andre finds a supporting point in his document that he decides he can express in more business-like terms: “The people showed they were bored by not paying attention to the speaker.”
2. Brainstorm three business concepts or terms that you can include in your document.
Example: Andre brainstorms business terms that relate to the idea he presents in his sentence:
3. Now incorporate these concepts or terms into your document.
Example: Andre adds minor details to the business terms he brainstormed and incorporates the terms into his sentence: “The audience displayed numerous nonverbal messages–yawning, texting, and checking the time–demonstrating that they were not paying attention to the presenter.”
1. Re-read your document. Highlight sentences that could serve as the controlling idea or bottom line. You may also write a new sentence if you wish.
Example: Dan’s document jumps from one idea to another, but once he reads it again, he finds the sentence he wants to use as a controlling idea: “Adopting our free and open source software (FOSS) will greatly benefit your teen youth group.”
2. Now that you have the controlling idea or bottom line of your document, brainstorm support for it. This support will become the bottom line or controlling idea of the paragraphs in your document.
Example: Dan can think of three ways that adopting the FOSS can benefit a teen youth group. The first is cost. Open source software is by definition free. In addition, open source software is customizable, so with some training, the youth group could customize software to fit their needs. If they did so, they could even teach the teens they help to customize the software, giving those teens a valuable job skill. Dan also realizes that he will have to write an introduction that explains the concept of “free and open source” in case the youth group organizers are not aware of it.
3. For each paragraph, brainstorm at least three supporting details.
Example: Dan decides to start with the cost. He brainstorms the following supporting details:
“Other operating systems charge hundreds of dollars in licensing fees.
“FOSS is free.”
“Technical support for FOSS is free as well, provided by thousands of volunteers.”
4. Integrate key words from your controlling idea into your supporting details. In addition, use transitional expressions to connect your thoughts.
Example: Dan now has to take the ideas he brainstormed and turn them into a paragraph that will fit into his document. This is what he writes: “Adopting our free and open source software (FOSS) will save your teen youth group thousands of dollars a year in licensing fees you would have to pay to a mainstream company. FOSS, on the other hand, is free, and so is our technical support, which is provided by thousands of knowledgeable volunteers.”
1. Re-read your document. Highlight all words and phrases that sound negative such as do not, no, stop, and not, as well as words that convey a negative, unpleasant, or disagreeable tone such as unfortunately, cannot, unable to, problem, difficult, error, loss, failure, or regret.
Example: Kiara focuses on these sentences, which have two negative words sure to upset customers: “We do not ship from our central warehouse. You can only pick up your purchases at our downtown store.”
2. Revise your document to accentuate the positive and de-emphasize the negative:
Example: Kiara revises her sentences to focus on what can be done. Doing this helps to make the tone of her document positive: “Your purchases can be picked up at our downtown store, which offers free parking on the south side of the building. In addition, you may contact our downtown store by fax, email, or phone to arrange for shipping.”
1. Re-read your document. Highlight all sentences that use passive voice.
Example: Wendy reads her document and finds several sentences in the passive voice, including this one: “Several family-friendly policies were implemented.”
2. Revise those sentences so that they are in the active voice.
Example: Wendy realizes that she needs to know who implemented the policies before she can write the sentence in the active voice. She reads her document again and sees that the Human Resources and Management team implemented the policies, so Wendy revises her sentence like this: “The Human Resources and Management team implemented several family-friendly policies.”
1. Re-read your document. Highlight all wordy sentences.
Example: Kyle reads his document, and one of the sentences he highlights is this: “Lacking all sense of responsibility, Tadd chose to personally abandon the project.”
2. Revise all highlighted sentences.
Example: Kyle revises his sentence like this: “Irresponsibly, Tadd chose to personally abandoned the project.”
His revision is clearer than the original, shorter, and contains the same information.
1. Re-read your document. Highlight all sentence fragments.
Example: Donna highlights these passages in her document:
“I revised the quarterly estimate. Even though I did not have to do so.”
“Cost overruns in pest control and advertising.”
2. Revise fragments by combining fragments with other sentences or providing a subject and a verb for the sentence fragment.
Example: Donna revised those passages like this:
“I revised the quarterly estimate even though I did not have to do so.” These two clauses belonged together since separately, the second one was a fragment.
“XYZ Company had cost overruns in pest control and advertising.” Donna added a subject and a verb to this idea to turn it into a complete sentence.
1. Re-read your document. Highlight all run-on errors.
Example: Jeff highlights this passage in his document: “The development of the report took more time than the committee had initially expected thus the report was finalized and offered for review on January 12, 2011, due to a heavy work load during the first part of every year, so the committee will need a little more time to complete the quality review that the report deserves.”
2. Revise run-ons by identifying sentences and placing periods at the end of them.
Example: Jeff realizes that untangling this run-on will take some work, so he rereads it slowly and out loud, looking and listening for the end of each sentence. This is how he revises that passage: “The development of the report took more time than the committee had initially expected. Thus the report was finalized and offered for review on January 12, 2011. Due to a heavy work load during the first part of every year, the committee will need a little more time to complete the quality review that the report deserves.”
Use the MY Editor feedback to improve your understanding of mechanics and conventions.
1. Pay attention to the specific feedback that MY Editor gives you as you compose and edit your document. Begin by revising any spelling or punctuation errors you have committed. Then run MY Editor again to reexamine any remaining grammar errors that remain.
2. Write down the terms used in the feedback.
3. Study the terms that came up most often.
4. When you master your understanding of a particular term, move on to a new one.
Network to improve your understanding of mechanics and conventions.
1. Start or join a small, serious study group on the topic of mechanics and conventions.
2. Ask your instructor to recommend other resources to help you master mechanics and conventions.
When you rewrite your document, pay attention to your sentences to avoid errors in mechanics and conventions.
1. Place a period at the end of each of your complete thoughts/sentences.
2. Place the subjects of your sentences as close as you can to the beginning of your sentences.
When you rewrite your document, focus on correcting the errors that came up the most often in the original document.