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, has your name and a title.
____ Proofread once through to catch any typos or known spelling errors.
____ Double-check any words you looked up in the dictionary to see if you chose the right definition, or think about how you might say it differently in the German you know.
____ Keep it simple. If there are any complex sentences you think might be wrong, try to reword them more simply.
____ 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)
____ 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 [Das ist mein Bruder NICHT Das ist meinen Bruder.]
____ All pronouns (er, sie, sein, ihr) 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 Kuchen 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 (AKK: durch, für, gegen, ohne, um; DAT: aus, außer, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, zu)
____ Negations are in the proper place (and remember to use “kein” instead of “nicht ein“!)