Pre-Submission Checklist

December 2004. Revised May 2005. Slightly revised November 2012.

You would not (I hope) enter a job interview without checking a mirror to make sure your hair was straight and your teeth clean. Treat your instructor with the same respect by checking over your papers before submitting them.


  • I have ended my introduction (in a short essay, my first paragraph) with a bold thesis statement.
  • The topic sentence of every body paragraph supports my thesis statement.
  • I have provided evidence for every topic sentence in the form of facts and quotations from readings, lectures, and independent research.
  • The concluding paragraph explains why my thesis is important.


  • I have put my name and the date at the top of the paper.
  • I have double-spaced the body of my paper.
  • When I have used another author’s words, I have enclosed her words in quotation marks and have provided a citation, including a page number. I have given the source for any images as well.
  • If my paper is longer than three pages, I have numbered the pages.


  • I have only used scare-quotes when absolutely necessary.
  • I have used the passive voice and existential (“there was/there were”) constructions only when necessary.
  • I have written about the past in the past tense.
  • I have used the term lifestyle only to describe post-1961 consumer culture.
  • I have avoided British spellings, such as amidst, amongst, whilst, theatre, and towards.



  • I have spell-checked my paper.
  • I have correctly used the following words: its/it’s, lead/led, loose/lose, who’s/whose, amount/number.
  • I have correctly spelled my professor’s name and the names of people mentioned in my paper.
  • I have read my paper aloud and corrected any sentences that were difficult to speak.