Essay Writing Checklist

Ideally, you should go through the whole list; in practice, you may not have time, so you should pick the sections that are most useful to you!

____ The essay is of the appropriate length

____ Everything is spelled correctly

____ All verbs...

____ agree with their subjects (remember e.g. Leute are plural, Familie is singular)

____ are conjugated correctly (watch past participles, haben/sein etc.)

____ are in the correct position in the sentence (watch for separable verbs, subordinating conjunctions (==> verb at end), coordinating conjunctions (remember that (1) coordinating conjunctions don't "count" as occupying the first position of a clause ==> don't require inverted word order; (2) when a coordinating conjunction coordinates two subordinate clauses, the verb comes at the end in both!)

____ are in the correct mood (indicative vs. subjunctive) and voice (active vs. passive)


____ All nouns...

____ are capitalized (including verbs and adjectives being used as nouns!)

____ have the correct gender and number (look up correct plural endings!)

____ are in the proper case.  Remember to

(1) add -n in the Dative Plural,
(2) add -(e)s in the masculine and neuter genitive
(3) add -(e)n to masculine weak nouns except in the Nominative Singular
(4) use Nominative, not Accusative, after sein and werden ["Snoopy ist ein Hund," NOT "Snoopy ist einen Hund"]
____ All pronouns are in the correct case, gender, and number.  Remember that even nouns for inanimate objects are referred to by their gender: only neuter nouns are referred to by es (e.g. Wo ist der Stuhl?  Er ist hier.)
Note: If you use man [=one], remember that (1) you should not switch to er/sie in the same sentence ==> "Wenn man Hunger hat, soll man SPAM essen." (2) man is nominative; its accusative is einen, dative is einem, and genitive is sein. ==> e.g. "Wenn man sein Auto wäscht, wird es regnen."
____ Prepositions and their cases are correct

____ Negations are in the proper place (and remember to use "kein" instead of "nicht ein"!)

____ All sentences are clear and comprehensible.