What this handout is about
This handout provides some tips and strategies for revising your writing. To give you a chance to practice proofreading, we have left seven errors (three spelling errors, two punctuation errors, and two grammatical errors) in the text of this handout. See if you can spot them!
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Is editing the same thing as proofreading?
Not exactly. Although many people use the terms interchangeably, editing and proofreading are two different stages of the revision process. Both demand close and careful reading, but they focus on different aspects of the writing and employ different techniques.
Some tips that apply to both editing and proofreading
- Get some distance from the text! It’s hard to edit or proofread a paper that you’ve just finished writing—it’s still to familiar, and you tend to skip over a lot of errors. Put the paper aside for a few hours, days, or weeks. Go for a run. Take a trip to the beach. Clear your head of what you’ve written so you can take a fresh look at the paper and see what is really on the page. Better yet, give the paper to a friend—you can’t get much more distance than that. Someone who is reading the paper for the first time, comes to it with completely fresh eyes.
- Decide what medium lets you proofread most carefully. Some people like to work right at the computer, while others like to sit back with a printed copy that they can mark up as they read.
- Try changing the look of your document. Altering the size, spacing, color, or style of the text may trick your brain into thinking it’s seeing an unfamiliar document, and that what is ‘academic writing‘? academic writing definition academic writing refers to the forms of expository prose used by researchers to can help you get a different perspective on what you’ve written.
- Find a quiet place to work. Don’t try to do your proofreading in front of the TV or while you’re chugging away on the treadmill. Find a place where you can concentrate and avoid distractions.
- If possible, do your editing and proofreading in several short blocks of time. Your concentration may start to wane if you try to proofread the entire text at one time.
- If you’re short on time, you may wish to prioritize. Make sure that you complete the most important editing and proofreading tasks.
Editing is what you begin doing as soon as you finish your first draft. You reread your draft to see, for example, whether the paper is well-organized, the transitions between paragraphs are smooth, and your evidence really backs up your argument. You can edit on several levels:
Have you done everything the assignment requires? Are the claims you make accurate? If it is required to do so, does your paper make an argument? Is the argument complete? Are all of your claims consistent? Have you supported each point with adequate evidence? Is all of the information in your paper relevant to the assignment and/or your overall writing goal? (For additional tips, see our handouts on understanding assignments and .)
Does your paper have an appropriate introduction and conclusion? Is your thesis clearly stated in your introduction? Is it clear how each paragraph in the body of your paper is related to your thesis? Are the paragraphs arranged in a logical sequence? Have you made clear transitions between paragraphs? One way to check the structure of your paper is to make a .)
Structure within paragraphs
Does each paragraph have a clear topic sentence? Does each paragraph stick to one main idea? Are there any extraneous or missing sentences in any of your paragraphs? (See our .)
Have you defined any important terms that might be unclear to your reader? Is the meaning of each sentence clear? (One way to answer this question is to read your paper one sentence at a time, starting at the end and working backwards so that you will not unconsciously fill in content from previous sentences.) Is it clear what each pronoun (he, she, it, they, which, who, this, etc.) refers to? Have you chosen the proper words to express your ideas? Avoid using words you find in the thesaurus that aren’t part of your normal vocabulary; you may misuse them.
Have you used an appropriate tone (formal, informal, persuasive, etc.)? Is your use of gendered language (masculine and feminine pronouns like he or she, words like fireman that contain man, and words that some people incorrectly assume apply to only one gender—for example, some people assume nurse must refer to a woman) appropriate? Have you varied the length and structure of your sentences? Do you tends to use the passive voice too often? Does your writing contain a lot of unnecessary phrases like there is, there are, due to the fact that, etc.? Do you repeat a strong word (for example, a vivid main verb) unnecessarily? (For tips, see our .)
Have you appropriately cited quotes, paraphrases, and ideas you got from sources? Are your citations in the correct format? (See the for more information.)
What this handout is around
This handout presents some tips and strategies for revising your authoring. To provide you with the ability to training proofreading, we have now allowed to remain 7 errors (some spelling blunders, two punctuation errors, and a couple grammatical flaws) within the words in this handout. See if you can location them!
Is editing the same as proofreading?
Not exactly. Although many people today work with the terms and conditions interchangeably, editing and proofreading are two different levels for the revision process. They focus on different aspects of the writing and employ different techniques.
Many ways that impact the two enhancing and proofreading
- Have some extended distance from the words! It is difficult to update or proofread a pieces of paper that you’ve just finished authoring-it is also to common, and you just typically skip above a great deal of problems. Put the paper aside for a fewdays and hours. Alternatively, weeks. Choose a function. Take a trip with the beach front. Crystal clear your face products you’ve penned in order to obtain a fresh consider the paper to check out what exactly is truly about the internet page. Better still, allow the newspaper to your buddy-you can’t get much more distance than that. An individual who is looking at the pieces of paper for the first time, relates to it with completely fresh eye.
- Choose what method permits you to proofread most thoroughly. A number of people want to get the job done right with the personal computer, while some choose to settle back having a published backup that they could sign up as they check out.
- Try out changing the style of your papers. Altering the spacing, color and size or style of the writing could technique your thoughts into reasoning it’s discovering an different paper, and to help you find a various viewpoint on the you’ve penned.
- Consider a quiet destination to function. Do not make an effort to do your proofreading in front of the Tv set or even while you’re chugging aside around the fitness treadmill. Discover a destination that enable you to avoid and concentrate distractions.
If you try to proofread the entire text at one time.If possible, do your editing and proofreading in several short blocks of time. Your concentration may start to wane>
- If you are brief punctually, you may wish to focus on. Ensure that you accomplish the most crucial editing and enhancing and proofreading chores.
Editing and enhancing
Editing and enhancing really you commence doing when you first accomplish the first write. You reread your write to discover, for instance, regardless of whether the old fashioned paper is clearly-sorted, the transitions involving paragraphs are easy, with your facts actually backs increase case. You possibly can revise on quite a few stages:
Get you completed all the things the project demands? Will be the promises you will be making correct? Does your paper make an argument if it is required to do so? Would be the issue full? Are your entire boasts reliable? Perhaps you have reinforced every single place with suitable facts? Is many of the advice with your pieces of paper highly relevant to the assignment and your current writing mission? (To get more guidelines, see our handouts on recognizing tasks and .)
Does your cardstock offer an ideal introduction and conclusion? Are you finding your thesis evidently mentioned with your beginning? Might it be very clear how every section in the body of your own paper is related to your thesis? Are definitely the sentences set up in a sensible pattern? Have you designed clear transitions concerning lines? A good way to verify the system of the old fashioned paper is to earn a .)
Shape after only paragraphs
Does each one paragraph use a straightforward topic phrase? Does just about every section remain faithful to an individual main strategy? Are there extraneous or missing out on phrases in one of your lines? (See our .)
Have you outlined any significant terms and conditions that has to be not clear to the viewer? Is definitely the meaning of each sentence apparent? (A good way to respond to this is usually to check out your paper a person sentence at any given time, beginning at the conclusion and doing the job in reverse which means you not unconsciously fill out information from previous sentences.) Is it straightforward what just about every pronoun (he, which, it, this, she, who and they for example.) describes? Do you have picked out the right key phrases to express your thoughts? Stay away from thoughts you discover inside thesaurus that aren’t section of your natural terminology; you might actually misuse them.
Get you employed an appropriate firm up (persuasive, formal and informal etc.)? Is your application of gendered foreign language (feminine and masculine pronouns like And#8220;he” or And#8220;she,” text like “fireman” that have “gentleman,” and key phrases that many people inaccurately presume affect a single gender-to illustrate, a number of people believe “health care workerAnd#8221; needs to refer to women) correct? Maybe you have wide-ranging the length and structure of your own phrases? Does one sometimes utilize the unaggressive speech too frequently? Does your crafting incorporate a great deal of pointless expressions like And#8220;there will be,And#8221; And#8220;you will discover,” “for the reason that that,And#8221; and so forth.? Should you perform repeatedly a powerful term (by way of example, a intense principal verb) needlessly? (For recommendations, see our .)
Maybe you have appropriately reportedquotes and paraphrases, and concepts you have from suppliers? Will be the citations inside the fix structure? (Look at to read more.)
Whenever you change at each of these levels, you will usually make substantial alterations on the information and wording of your own report. Keep an eye out for patterns of error; knowing what kinds of problems you tend to have will be helpful, especially if you are editing a large document like a thesis or dissertation. Once you have diagnosed a design, you are able to cultivate procedures for spotting and repairing future cases of that structure. If you notice that you often discuss several distinct topics in each paragraph, you can go through your paper and underline the key words in each paragraph, then break the paragraphs up so that each one focuses on just one main idea.
Proofreading would be the closing place on the enhancing practice, looking at area faults which include misspellings and faults in punctuation and grammar. You must proofread only after you have complete all of your other croping and editing alterations.
Why proofread? It’s this content that actually matters, appropriate?
Content is vital. But as if it or otherwise, the manner in which a report appears strikes how many others evaluate it. When you’ve been working difficult to build and provide your opinions, you do not want clumsy flaws distracting your reader from what you need to say. It is worthy of being attentive to the specifics that encourage you to create a good appearance.
Lots of people dedicate only a few short minutes to proofreading, hoping to take any obtrusive faults that leap right out of the page. But a quick and cursory reading through, mainly after you have been doing business extensive and difficult on a old fashioned paper, typically misses quite a bit. It’s much better to work with an absolute organize that lets you hunt systematically for precise forms of issues.
Sure, this takes a little extra time, but it pays off in the end. You can worry less about editing while you are writing your first drafts if you know that you have an effective way to catch errors when the paper is almost finished. This could cause your whole crafting proccess more effective.
Try to keep the croping and editing and proofreading processes distinguish. If you find yourself enhancing an early draft, you don’t try to be worried with serious about punctuation, grammar, and spelling. If your worrying about the spelling of a word or the placement of a comma, you’re not focusing on the more important task of developing and connecting ideas.
The proofreading procedure
You probably presently use a few of the techniques talked over underneath. Try out different practices until such time as you discover a structure that works well for you. What is important is always to get the procedure systematic and on target to make sure you catch plenty of problems as they can on the the bare minimum duration.
- Don’t be dependent fully on spelling checkers. This can be useful equipment however are not even close to foolproof. Spell checkers have got a very little thesaurus, so some key phrases that show up as misspelled may perhaps seriously simply not have their remembrance. On top of that, spell checkers will never seize misspellings that form one more applicable concept. For example, if you type “your” instead of “you’re,” “to” instead of “too,” or “there” instead of “their,” the spell checker won’t catch the error.
- Grammar checkers could be even more difficult. These courses start using a modest variety of rules, so they can not distinguish any miscalculation and frequently get some things wrong. Additionally they neglect to give complete answers that will help you understand why a sentence should be improved. You may want to use a grammar checker to help you identify potential run-on sentences or too-frequent use of the passive voice, but you need to be able to evaluate the feedback it provides.
If you try to revise and identify too many things at once, you risk losing focus, and your proofreading will be less effective,
- Proofread for only one kind of error at a time.. If you aren’t checking spelling and punctuation at the same time, It’s easier to catch grammar errors. Additionally, a number of the approaches that will work nicely for spotting 1 form of blunder will not find others.
- Check out gradual, and look at each and every statement. Look at , which causes you to say just about every text and also allows you to hear precisely how the key phrases sound together with each other. Once you check out quietly or too rapidly, you might forget about in excess of mistakes or make unconscious improvements.
- Distinct the text into specific phrases. This really is one other solution to assist you to see every last phrase thoroughly. Merely click the give back essential after each time period in order that almost every range commences a whole new phrase. Then learn each sentence separately, in search of sentence structure, punctuation, or spelling glitches. If you’re working with a printed copy, try using an opaque object like a ruler or a piece of paper to isolate the line you’re working on.
- Circle each and every punctuation mark. This makes you to look at each. As you circle, ask yourself if the punctuation is correct.
- Browse the old fashioned paper in reverse. This approach is effective for checking spelling. Focus on the very last statement for the final page and work your path into your first step, reading through each one word as a stand alone. And grammar won’t make any sense, your focus will be entirely on the spelling of each word, becausepunctuation and content. You might also read in the opposite direction sentence by phrase to confirm grammar; this should help you prevent turning out to be derailed by material complications.
- Proofreading is a figuring out practice. You are besides hunting for glitches that you really recognize; you are also learning how to recognize and suitable new mistakes. This is where dictionaries and handbooks can be found in. You want to keep ones you will find handy shut to hand once you proofread.
As you edit at all of these levels, you will usually make significant revisions to the content and wording of your paper. Keep an eye out for patterns of error; knowing what kinds of problems you tend to have will be helpful, especially if you are editing a large document like a thesis or dissertation. Once you have identified a pattern, you can develop techniques for spotting and correcting future instances of that pattern. For example, if you notice that you often discuss several distinct topics in each paragraph, you can go through your paper and underline the key words in each paragraph, then break the paragraphs up so that each one focuses on just one main idea.
Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process, focusing on surface errors such as misspellings and mistakes in grammar and punctuation. You should proofread only after you have finished all of your other editing revisions.
Why proofread? It’s the content that really matters, right?
Content is important. But like it or not, the way a paper looks affects the way others judge it. When you’ve worked hard to develop and present your ideas, you don’t want careless errors distracting your reader from what you have to say. It’s worth paying attention to the details that help you to make a good impression.
Most people devote only a few minutes to proofreading, hoping to catch any glaring errors that jump out from the page. But a quick and cursory reading, especially after you’ve been working long and hard on a paper, usually misses a lot. It’s better to work with a definite plan that helps you to search systematically for specific kinds of errors.
Sure, this takes a little extra time, but it pays off in the end. If you know that you have an effective way to catch errors when the paper is almost finished, you can worry less about editing while you are writing your first drafts. This makes the entire writing proccess more efficient.
Try to keep the editing and proofreading processes separate. When you are editing an early draft, you don’t want to be bothered with thinking about punctuation, grammar, and spelling. If your worrying about the spelling of a word or the placement of a comma, you’re not focusing on the more important task of developing and connecting ideas.
The proofreading process
You probably already use some of the strategies discussed below. Experiment with different tactics until you find a system that works well for you. The important thing is to make the process systematic and focused so that you catch as many errors as possible in the least amount of time.
- Don’t rely entirely on spelling checkers. These can be useful tools but they are far from foolproof. Spell checkers have a limited dictionary, so some words that show up as misspelled may really just not be in their memory. In addition, spell checkers will not catch misspellings that form another valid word. For example, if you type your instead of you’re, to instead of too, or there instead of their, the spell checker won’t catch the error.
- Grammar checkers can be even more problematic. These programs work with a limited number of rules, so they can’t identify every error and often make mistakes. They also fail to give thorough explanations to help you understand why a sentence should be revised. You may want to use a grammar checker to help you identify potential run-on sentences or too-frequent use of the passive voice, but you need to be able to evaluate the feedback it provides.
- Proofread for only one kind of error at a time. If you try to identify and revise too many things at once, you risk losing focus, and your proofreading will be less effective. It’s easier to catch grammar errors if you aren’t checking punctuation and spelling at the same time. In addition, some of the techniques that work well for spotting one kind of mistake won’t catch others.
- Read slow, and read every word. Try , which forces you to say each word and also lets you hear how the words sound together. When you read silently or too quickly, you may skip over errors or make unconscious corrections.
- Separate the text into individual sentences. This is another technique to help you to read every sentence carefully. Simply press the return key after every period so that every line begins a new sentence. Then read each sentence separately, looking for grammar, punctuation, or spelling errors. If you’re working with a printed copy, try using an opaque object like a ruler or a piece of paper to isolate the line you’re working on.
- Circle every punctuation mark. This forces you to look at each one. As you circle, ask yourself if the punctuation is correct.
- Read the paper backwards. This technique is helpful for checking spelling. Start with the last word on the last page and work your way back to the beginning, reading each word separately. Because content, punctuation, and grammar won’t make any sense, your focus will be entirely on the spelling of each word. You can also read backwards sentence by sentence to check grammar; this will help you avoid becoming distracted by content issues.
- Proofreading is a learning process. You’re not just looking for errors that you recognize; you’re also learning to recognize and correct new errors. This is where handbooks and dictionaries come in. Keep the ones you find helpful close at hand as you proofread.