Appendix C. Student Self-Check

Before you turn in your essay … Did you do all of these things? Review this checklist before submitting your definition essay to your teacher.

☐ My essay is formatted according to the instructions (name, class, date, page numbers, margins, line spacing, indented paragraphs, etc.).

☐ I checked the punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.

☐ My essay has a title. It is centered on the page. Each word is capitalized except for articles, conjunctions, and prepositions (unless they are the first word; the first word of a title is always capitalized).

☐ My essay has an introduction, multiple body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph.

☐ My introduction paragraph has all the necessary parts, such as an interesting hook, connecting information for context, a clear thesis statement, and a preview of the content of the essay.

☐ My thesis statement has both a topic and a claim.

☐ Each of my body paragraphs includes a clear topic sentence (topic + controlling idea) that helps to explain the thesis of the essay.

☐ Each of my body paragraphs includes specific supporting details that explain the topic sentence.

☐ My conclusion paragraph restates the thesis, summarizes the main points, and wraps up the essay with a final thought.

☐ The information in my essays flows in a logical way.

☐ I used transition words and signal words to help guide the reader.

☐ I looked for and corrected common errors of subject-verb agreement, comma splices, fragments, and run-on sentences.

☐ The content of my essay is interesting to an adult reader; it is not vague or superficial.

☐ All of the writing is my own original work; I did not copy from other sources without citation. If I used an idea from someone else, I paraphrased or quoted the idea and I acknowledged the source in my writing so that the reader knows where the information came from. I put the titles of articles in “quotation marks” and the names of publications in italics.

☐ I reviewed my vocabulary and tried to use new words. I typed new words that I am trying in bold.

☐ I included the special grammar mentioned in the assignment, and I underlined it.

☐ I edited my essay for clarity (Is it clear?), unity (Is it all on one topic?), and concision (Are you saying as much as you need to say, but only what you need to say — not too much and not too little?).

☐ I asked my teacher or a college tutor if I had questions.



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