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Teacher Tips and Answers

Editing Opinion Essays

After making big changes to improve your opinion essay, you need to make little changes (editing) to correct any remaining errors. You'll look for problems with sentences, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage, and spelling. The following activities will help you edit and publish your writing.

Editing Commas with Intro Words

Place a comma after introductory words, phrases, and clauses in sentences. The comma after introductory material signals that the main part of the sentence will follow.

Here is an example where the comma comes after a word.

Admittedly, many older adults are uncomfortable with new technology.

In this example, the comma comes after a phrase.

First of all, cars have come to rule our lives.

The comma comes after a clause in this last example.

Because art is so important, the School District must keep the art program.

Watch the video "Commas with Introductory Words"

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Use commas with introductory words.

Add a comma after each introductory word group. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Adding Commas

  • Adding Commas
  • Adding Commas

Check commas in your essay.

Review your opinion essay for commas after introductory words, phrases, and clauses.

Teaching Tip

Tell students that a comma often represents a pause in a sentence and signals that the main part of the sentence will follow.

Editing for Agreement

Make sure that your subjects and verbs agree in your sentences. If you use a singular subject, use a singular verb. If you use a plural subject, use a plural verb.

"Everyone" is the singular subject and "gets" is the singular verb.

Everyone in the fifth grade gets to go bowling.

"People" is the plural subject and "get" is the plural verb.

The people in my table group get to compete as a team.

Compound subjects can be challenging. A compound subject joined by and takes a plural verb. If the compound subject is joined by or or nor, the verb matches the last subject.

"And" creates a compound subject. "Play" is the plural verb.

During the summer, Jarrod and Leon play basketball.

"Or" creates the compound subject in this sentence. "Plays" is the singular verb.

Either Jarrod or Leon plays center on the team.

Watch the video "Subject-Verb Agreement"

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Correct subject-verb agreement problems.

Edit the following sentences to correct any problems. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

subject-verb agreement

  • subject-verb agreement
  • subject-verb agreement

Check subject-verb agreement.

Review your essay, making sure all your subjects and verbs agree.

Editing in Action

When you edit, you check your revised essay for spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and usage errors.

  • Paragraph Before Editing

  • Commas were added and changes in subject-verb agreement were made.

  • Paragraph After Editing


Edit with a checklist.

Use this checklist as a guide when you check your opinion essay for errors. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Checking Grammar and Usage

  • Do all subjects and verbs agree?
  • Are words used correctly (your/you’re, their/there/they’re, its/it’s)?
  • Are sentences complete (no fragments or run-ons)?
  • Are may, might, must, and other helping verbs used correctly?

Checking Capitalization, Punctuation, and Spelling

  • Is the first word in each sentence capitalized?
  • Are the names of people, places, and things capitalized?
  • Do commas and quotation marks set off quotations?
  • Do commas set off introductory words, phrases, and clauses?
  • Is each word spelled correctly?

Publishing Opinion Essays

When you publish your opinion essay, you make it public, sharing it with others. First, you need to make a clean final copy of your work. Then you should find ways to share what you have written with classmates, your teacher, your family, and your friends.

Publishing a Final Copy

Create a final copy of your opinion essay.

Include your revising and editing changes and check one last time for errors. (If you are using a computer, spell-check your work.) Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

(Answers will vary.)

Reflecting on Your Writing

Reflect on your writing.

Complete the following form to help you think about your essay-writing experience. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Reflection Sheet

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