Editing/Revising: Complete Sentences, Past/Present Tense Verbs, etc.

When writing and editing a story or essay, it is important to make sure that your writing has complete sentences, the correct tense, uses the correct articles, and every word is spelled correctly.

A complete sentence contains a verb, expresses a complete idea, and makes sense standing alone.

Andy reads quickly. This is a complete sentence because reads is a verb, expresses that Andy reads quickly, and makes sense standing alone.

When Andy reads is an example of an incomplete sentence. There is a verb, but it does not express a complete thought. The sentence does not tell us what happens when Andy reads, nor does it make sense on its’ own because it has no context. Incomplete sentences can also be called sentence fragments. Multiple fragments can be put together to form a sentence if the ideas make sense together.

You also need to make sure that you are writing in the correct tense to make sure that your writing flows naturally and that your ideas make sense.

When writing essays, you should use the present tense. When writing stories, you can choose whatever you want, but you need to be consistent and use that tense throughout your entire piece of writing.

Articles are words used to modify a noun. There are only two articles: the and a/an. The is used to refer to specific or particular nouns; a/an is used to modify non-specific or non-particular nouns. We call the the definite article and a/an the indefinite article. The a is used in front of a word that starts with a consonant (a letter that is not a vowel), while the an is used in front of a word that starts with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u).

Let’s read the book. This sentence is referring to a specific book.

Let’s read a book. The sentence is not referring to a specific book, but rather the general group.

Spelling is extremely important when you are writing because the readers will take your essay/story more seriously and will know that you put a significant amount of effort into writing your essay/story.

Now that we learned some important tips when writing/editing, let’s use what we learned in an example!

1) My name Jay Hammond I am firefighter. 2) I lived in 128 Pine Lane, in Jackson, Mississippi. 3) I have two childs. 4) One is an girl named Clair. 5) The other is boy named Thatcher. 6) His name after my father. 7) I also have a wife named Jenna. 8) She is beutiful. 9) She has long, dark, soft hair. 10) We also currently will a dog named Buck. 11) He was very obedient but sometimes he barked at night and it upsets our neighbors!

Fixes to the paragraph:

  1. This sentence is not complete, does not make sense, and consists of two sentence fragments: My name is Jay Hammond and I am firefighter. We can split this awkward sentence into two different sentences and add verbs and articles. The new improved sentences are as follows: My name is Jay Hammond. I am a firefighter. Since his name is currently Jay Hammond, we use the present tense. The whole paragraph will be written in the present tense. The article a was used in the second sentence because he is referring to a general occupation and is not saying he is the specific firefighter of the fire station.

  2. The entire paragraph is written in the present tense, so lived is changed to live.

  3. Children is spelled as childs, so in the sentence, childs will be replaced with children.

  4. Since girl starts with a consonant, an needs to be changed to a.

  5. The sentence needs an article in front of boy because Thatcher refers to “a boy.” Therefore, the sentence will have a a in front of boy.

  6. He is is spelled wrong and is written as his in the sentence, so his is replaced with he is.

  7. There is nothing wrong with this sentence.

  8. Beautiful is spelled as beutiful, so beutiful is replaced with beautiful.

  9. There is nothing wrong with this sentence.

  10. This paragraph is written in the present tense, and will is the future tense, so will will be changed to have.

  11. Was is the past tense, so was will be replaced by is. Barked is also the past tense, so it will be replaced by barks.