How To Write the 5 Paragraph Essay: 4th Stage — Revising & Editing

Now that you have a Rough Draft, you can move to the fourth and last stage of the Writing Process: Revision and Editing.

In Revision, you look again to your organized Prewriting and then back to your Rough Draft, making sure that you followed the organization of your Prewriting and aren’t missing any important parts.  Also, if your paper is too short, add any additional details to the body paragraph or body paragraphs.  You might even add whole body paragraphs, but be careful not to repeat yourself. If you find details that digress, that is, get off the point of your thesis, then you might want to delete those details and replace them with details that do relate to your thesis.

In Editing, you correct any stylistic and grammatical errors, like improper MLA style, confused words, misspelled words, bad punctuation, sentence errors (like fragments and run-ons), and deficient transition words.  In regards to MLA style, make sure you have a title that’s centered, proper paragraph breaks (indenting the first sentence of each paragraph, and no additional spaces between the paragraphs), the margins are one-inch all around, the font is Times New Roman 12, and EVERYTHING is double-spaced.  Run the spell-checker and grammar-checker of your word processor, but don’t do this blindly.  YOU need to check the electronic checkers to make sure that you agree with their suggestions or not.  Consult your personal grammar source, whether it’s a grammar book, a grammar website, or a person who just knows a lot of grammar.

It’s also in this stage that another person reading your Rough Draft can spot errors or problems that you may have overlooked.  This “second opinion” is called Peer Review, and all experienced writers submit their drafts to a Peer Review.  You should, too.

By the way, if your teacher wants a cover sheet or a name header, provide it, according to his/her specifications.

Save again your file.  It is now a polished draft.  If you print it out and submit it to your teacher, then this draft is called the Final Draft. The Final Draft is the end product of the Writing Process.  You’re done!

Here’s a sample Final Draft, which is a polished version of the “ice cream” Rough Draft:


Mary Student

Prof. Jane Doe

ENGL 1301-6001

27 January 2008

My Favorite Ice Cream Flavors

            When I was four years old, I had my first taste of ice cream.  I think it was an odd flavor, sweetened avocado, which my mom made from scratch from an old Filipino recipe.  I loved it then, and I still love avocado ice cream, although you can’t find it in stores.  But over the years, I’ve tasted many different kinds of ice cream, different brands, in many places.  There’s an ice cream shop not too far away from where I live, and I know the ice cream section of my local grocery store as if it were my own personal freezer.  With all my year of eating ice cream, my favorite ice cream flavors remain pretty normal: They are vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio.

Some of my friends are surprised that I like vanilla.  After all, I’ve had exotic flavors like avocado, green tea, and mango, while vanilla seems so boring in comparison.  But what they call “boring” I call “basic.”  It’s this basic quality that I love.  It’s in vanilla that the sweetness of ice cream in general really comes through.  There’s no weird flavor getting in the way.  Also, the creaminess of vanilla ice cream comes through as well.  There are no weird bits and pieces of stuff getting in the way.  Gourmet people call the texture of a food in a person’s mouth “mouth feel.”  To me, vanilla ice cream has a good mouth feel, with that creaminess.  All of these qualities make vanilla ice cream the perfect foundation or companion to other foods, like muffins, blueberry cobbler, or chocolate cake.  It’s just good with everything.

Like most people who like ice cream, I really like chocolate ice cream. Chocolate ice cream comes in different varieties, from the really milky chocolate to the dark bitterness of dark chocolate.  I prefer dark chocolate myself; the darker, the better.  It’s not that I’m lactose-intolerant, that I like dark chocolate over milk chocolate.   It’s just the darker it is, the more chocolaty the ice cream is: richly bittersweet, without the cloying sweetness of vanilla when I’m not in the mood for ice cream that sweet.  Not surprisingly, when I’m in a chocolate ice cream mood, my favorite way to eat ice cream is with dark coffee.  The bitterness of the chocolate so complements the bitterness of my coffee that sometimes I put the ice cream into my coffee mug, making myself a cheap mocha drink.

Finally, my most favorite ice cream flavor is pistachio.  It’s not as common a flavor as vanilla and chocolate, and sometimes I have to search for it, going to several grocery stores.  But the search is worth it.  The basic flavor is sweet cream, but mixed in it is a delicate pistachio flavor that gives pistachio ice cream a taste that I call “green.”  Pistachio ice cream doesn’t have to be green in color to have this green flavor, a refreshing taste that reminds me of a late spring picnic on a grassy lawn.  Also, mixed in the smooth, green-tasting ice cream are pistachio nuts, giving the ice cream a sweet yet dusty nuttiness and nice contrasting texture.  Because the green flavor is so delicate and the pistachio nuts give the ice cream a complex mouth feel, I eat pistachio ice cream all by itself.  I might have a glass of water to wash it all down, but that’s about it.  Pistachio ice cream needs no accompaniment.

Thus, my top three ice cream flavors are vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio.  Even though I’ve had many opportunities to eat all kinds of ice cream, I’ve returned to these three flavors again and again.  But of the three, as you’ve probably noticed, pistachio is my favorite flavor.  It is just that good.  If you’ve never had it before, I recommend you should go and buy pistachio ice cream.  However, if you don’t like pistachio, that’s okay.  Any ice cream flavor is good, I believe, and ice cream will continue to be a popular dessert for a very long time.  After all, who doesn’t like ice cream?


So there you have it: the Writing Process – Invention/Prewriting, Arrangement, Drafting, and Revision/ Editing – from beginning to end.  As you can see from the essay “My Favorite Ice Cream Flavors”, the end-product of the Writing Process is an essay that is unified, focused, coherent, well-supported with details, and error-free.  IMPORTANT NOTE: Follow whatever manuscript style that your teacher wants you to use (MLA, APA, CMA, and so forth).

Mary Student’s Final Draft <– This follows MLA style manuscript format.

If you follow the Writing Process, you should be able to get the same result.


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