An example of this exercise.

Writing Coherent Papers

by Joseph V. Siry

Frequently the following three-step process has a four-fold payoff that can improve the consistency, logic, and often the lucidity of your papers!



1) Do the following exercise with your draft essay:

A. Identify and underline your thesis statement.

B. Pick out your best paragraph and explain what it means in one sentence.
C. Count your paragraphs and total the number at the top right hand side of the page.

D. Just before the final draft stage of your paper do the following assignment:

E. Put an “E” in the left margin outside, but beside every sentence that has factual       evidence to support the contention of the essay’s paragraphs.

F. So for every PARAGRAPH you have in the paper write one very finely crafted SENTENCE that sums up the point of the entire paragraph.

(if you can’t do this in a sentence, your paragraph may be:
  too long, without focus, too short, too confused or badly written.)

2.  Read through each sentence to make sure that one sentence leads freely to the next sentence and that subsequent sentences flow easily from the previous sentences.

3.  Rewrite any awkward sentences or phrases that don’t relate to the rest of the paper.

2) Why do this?

A. Look over your sentences that interpret each paragraph, ¶.

penSummarize what they all mean in a long sentence.


B. Payoff  !

1.  If the sentences don’t flow clearly, chances are that you have a TRANSITION problem from one paragraph to another. 

Check to be certain that the problem is not in your sentence.

If the problem is that the PARAGRAPH does not lead to another subsequent paragraph, then CORRECT IT!

2.  Take your five best sentences from beginning to the end, making sure they reveal the overview of the paper’s themes.

Redraft these sentences into an opening PARAGRAPH and then you could have a rough INTRODUCTION!

3.  Use the best remaining sentences that cover the main points of your paper and use them in a PARAGRAPH.

Rewrite the paragraph as your CONCLUSION.

4.  Completing this exercise may create a more coherent essay and, at best, you have revised many problems (under 1, 2, or 3) that get in the way of your thesis, muddle your evidence, or weaken your arguments.

C. Read aloud your best sentence to your partner and recombine their best sentence and your best sentence into one common sentence to share verbally with the class.

So always revise your papers, because all authentic writing is re-writing.

samples: of a short essay | A long essay