Writing Checklist

The writing checklist is a tool for determining whether you have remembered all of the steps in the revision and proofreading process.

Step 1: Assignment Guidelines

Have you met assignment guidelines? Consider:

  • Length of paper
  • Number of sources
  • Types of sources
  • Intended Audience

If you have any questions or need clarification at any point during the writing process, contact your instructor or TA, or talk to a Writing and Communication Centre staff by booking an appointment or attending a drop-in session.

Step 2: Development and Structure

Have you written strong paragraphs?

Introductory Paragraph(s)

  • Do you have a specific and relevant opening statement?
  • Do you briefly summarize the main points of the paper?
  • Do you define key terminology needed to understand the topic of your paper?
  • Do you briefly highlight necessary background information on the topic?
  • Do you have a thesis or purpose statement?

Body Paragraphs

  • Do you include a topic sentence that summarizes the main point of the paragraph?
  • Do you have evidence that supports your topic sentence and links to your overall argument?
  • Do you analyze your evidence and discuss how it links to your main argument?
  • Do you account for counter-arguments or contrary evidence if it exists?
  • Do you include appropriate transition words, phrases, or sentences between main points?
  • Do you explain relevant terms and concepts to your audience?
  • Does the last sentence conclude the paragraph?

Concluding Paragraph(s)

  • Do you return to your main argument without restating it?
  • Do you avoid the inclusion of new arguments and evidence?
  • Do you explain the impact or significance of your work?

For additional information on any of these concepts, review the writing resources available through the Writing and Communication Centre's online resources under the “Mechanics” tab.

Step 3: Sentence Structure

  • Have you checked for these common mistakes?
  • Awkward constructions
  • Comma splices
  • Dangling/misplaced modifiers
  • Sentence fragments
  • Run-together/run-on sentences
  • Faulty parallelism

Step 4: Mechanics

Have you used the following correctly? 


  • Adverbs/Adjectives 
  • Articles 
  • Plural marker “s” 
  • Possessives 
  • Prepositions 
  • Pronouns 
  • Subject-verb agreement 


  • Apostrophes 
  • Commas 
  • Colons 
  • Semi-colons 
  • Dashes 
  • Hyphens 
  • End punctuation 
  • Slashes 
  • Quotation marks 


  • Canadian spellings 
  • Accurate word choice 
  • Correct capitalization

For additional information on how to cite and format according to different style guides, see the Writing and Communication Centre's resources under the “Citations” tab. If you are unsure of which style to use, contact your instructor or TA.

Step 5: Academic Integrity

  • Have you used quotations correctly? 
    • Is your punctuation correct? 
    • Have you avoided starting a sentence with a quotation? 
    • For integrated quotations (i.e. quotations not following a colon), have you changed verb tenses and plurals, as needed, and indicated changes using square brackets? 
    • If you have altered or removed a section of the original text, have you indicated these changes according to your style guide? 
  • Have you paraphrased information accurately but without copying the original? 
  • Have you included in-text citations formatted according to your style guide? 
  • Have you included a reference list (bibliography or works cited) that adheres to your style guide?