How to revise

Revision means 'change'. Revisions to your text during the editing and proofreading stage are made to improve the text, especially regarding structure, language and referencing.

Below you will find a list of issues to consider in the revision process, and to the right are three videos that take you through some aspects of text revision.

Revising text structure

Focus and structure

In order to gain precision and focus, texts often need to be restructured to some extent. Check your text's structure on different levels: that there are topic sentences in all paragraphs, that each section has an overall structure and, of course, that the text in fact does what it sets out to do. For information on structural aspects of texts, see

Fluency and readability

Texts that lack transitional devices are difficult to read. Go through your text and make sure there are transitions linking both paragraphs and sections. For useful phrases and words, see

Revising language


Although it might be difficult to make substantial vocabulary changes at the revising stage, repetitive use of certain words and expressions can be corrected. At this stage, most writers consult reference books of various sorts and dictionaries. A good dictionary is, of course, a must, but other tools are also useful. See the links below on vocabulary and the use of dictionaries:


To avoid typos and spelling mistakes, use the spell-checker in your word processing software. Make sure to check that your word processor is set for English and for the preferred spelling (British or US, for instance). Read more about spelling rules and commonly confused words here:


Make sure that the language used in your text is grammatically correct. Although most standard word processors include a grammar checker, you cannot trust it to catch all potential mistakes. The following AWELU resources provide some help:

Sentence structure and punctuation

Two common problems related to sentence structure are so-called sentence fragments (that is, sentences that are not complete) and run-on sentences (which are sentences that follow after each other without being separated by a full stop or a coordinating conjunction). Writers who make these mistakes often struggle with punctuation rules too. To find out how to avoid (or correct) these errors, see:

Checking formal aspects


Departmental or course guidelines usually state requirements regarding word count, line spacing, font size, etc. Note that these are usually not seen as recommendations but are actual requirements, so a text that is too long will probably have to be cut. As a complement to guidelines you have received from your teacher or publisher, see:


Make sure that the use of references (both in-text references and the reference list) is correct as well as consistent. You can read about aspects of referencing that need to be checked here:

Videos on text revision:

Instructional videos from the free online MOOC "Writing in English at University" (Lund University 2016).

Page Manager: aweluluse | 2021-12-01