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!
Is editing the same thing as proofreading?
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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 academic writing style – organizing your social sciences research academic writing definition academic writing is based on analysis – the process of breaking down ideas – to may trick your brain into thinking it’s seeing an unfamiliar document, and that 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 focused on
This handout delivers some tips and strategies for revising your authoring. To present you with the ability to practice proofreading, we have now left behind six faults (three spelling blunders, two punctuation issues, and a couple of grammatical faults) during the content of this particular handout. See if you can detect them!
Is editing and enhancing the same thing as proofreading?
Not quite. Although many men and women make use of the words editing, interchangeably and proofreading are two several steps within the revision course of action. They focus on different aspects of the writing and employ different techniques.
Some suggestions that cover each of those editing and enhancing and proofreading
- Have some space with the content! It’s tricky to modify or proofread a newspaper that you’ve just completed authoring-it’s even now to acquainted, and you normally bypass about many issues. Put the paper aside for a fewhours and days. Alternatively, weeks. Select a work. Take a trip with the beach. Distinct your mind products you’ve penned which means you can relax and take a refreshing look at the document and then judge exactly what is actually about the site. Even better, give the report with a buddy-you cannot get significantly more space than that. Somebody that is browsing the document for the first time, relates to it with entirely clean view.
- Consider what moderate helps you to proofread most thoroughly. Some individuals love to deliver the results right from the computer system, while others like to relax which has a imprinted duplicate they can label up as they examine.
- Test modifying the style of your papers. Altering the size, color and spacing or design of the written text may well deceive your brain into imagining it is looking at an different document, and that assists you find a diverse view about what you have penned.
- Get a calm area to perform. Never attempt to do your proofreading in front of the Television for computer or when you’re chugging gone within the running machine. Obtain a location that enable you to avoid and concentrate 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 brief in time, you may wish to focus on. Be sure that you total the most significant enhancing and proofreading activities.
Modifying is the thing that you commence accomplishing once you finish the first write. You reread your write to discover, by way of example, regardless if the cardstock is very well-organized, the transitions between sentences are clean, and also your data seriously backside up your discussion. You possibly can alter on a number of amounts:
Do you have conducted anything the project needs? Are the statements you get exact? Does your paper make an argument if it is required to do so? Is the argument entire? Are all of your current assertions consistent? Do you have guaranteed each one level with satisfactory verification? Is the various material in your newspaper highly relevant to the project or your existing composing mission? (For further hints, see our handouts on knowing duties and .)
In general construction
Does your document experience an right introduction and conclusion? Is your thesis certainly said inside your guide? Will it be crystal clear how every paragraph in your system within your report relates to your thesis? Are often the lines established in the realistic series? Maybe you have produced apparent transitions involving paragraphs? One technique to look into the framework of your own document is to create a .)
Design within lines
Does every section use a very clear area phrase? Does each paragraph stick with just one principal thought? Are there extraneous or neglecting sentences in any lines? (See our .)
Do you have defined any vital words and phrases that may be unclear in your readers? Would be the meaning of every one phrase clear? (One method to response this question should be to read your newspaper just one phrase at a time, commencing afterwards and doing business backwards so that you will not subconsciously fill in articles from old phrases.) Would it be very clear what each pronoun (she, they, it, which, he, who and this etc.) means? Have you ever selected the proper phrases to express your thoughts? Avoid using thoughts you see inside thesaurus that are not component of your typical language; you might actually misuse them.
Do you have made use of a good firm up (persuasive, formal and informal and so on.)? Can be your utilization of gendered vocabulary (masculine and feminine pronouns like “he” or And#8220;she,” words and phrases like “fireman” that incorporate “gentleman,” and ideas that a lot of people erroneously think connect with only one gender-such as, some individuals think And#8220;nurse” ought to talk about a lady) right? You may have diversified the structure and length on your sentences? Do you really most likely to make use of the inactive tone of voice many times? Does your producing contain many pointless keyword phrases like “there is always,” “you can find,And#8221; “simply because that,And#8221; etc.? Do you ever perform repeatedly a powerful message (as an illustration, a vivid significant verb) needlessly? (For ideas, see our .)
Do you have adequately citedparaphrases and quotes, and concepts you became from options? Will be the citations from the accurate file format? (View the for details.)
As you may change at all of these quantities, you will usually make substantial revisions to your article content and wording of your own pieces of 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. Upon having determined a habit, you can establish approaches for recognizing and solving upcoming cases of that pattern. 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 definitely the ultimate phase of the editing operation, emphasizing surface area glitches such as misspellings and mistakes in punctuation and grammar. It is best to proofread only after you have finalized each of your other editing changes.
Why proofread? It is the information that in some way is important, proper?
Content is crucial. But love it or otherwise not, the way in which a report appearances has effects on the manner in which other individuals assess it. When you’ve labored hard to create and offer your ideas, you do not want careless mistakes annoying your visitor from what you have to say. It’s value focusing on details that allow you to have a good feeling.
Lots of people commit just a couple a matter of minutes to proofreading, planning to get any glaring faults that leap out from the site. But a cursory and quick browsing, specifically just after you have been performing particularly long and difficult on a cardstock, ordinarily misses quite a bit. It’s superior to work with a definite program that lets you hunt systematically for special forms of flaws.
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. As a result the total authoring proccess more potent.
Try to keep the modifying and proofreading systems individual. Whenever you are croping and editing an early write, you do not wish to be bothered with wondering 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 technique
It is likely you definitely use a few of the approaches mentioned down below. Try out different strategies right until you get a structure that can be useful for you. The important thing is to try to result in the technique methodical and concentrated in order that you grab lots of issues as they possibly can within the very least period of time.
- Do not rely wholly on spelling checkers. This can come in handy programs but are away from foolproof. Spell checkers have a minimal dictionary, so some ideas that report as misspelled might genuinely simply not be in their memory. Also, spell checkers will not likely grab misspellings that develop another logical term. 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 is usually even more challenging. These plans start using a minimal selection of requirements, hence they can not determine every last miscalculation and frequently get some things wrong. In addition, they forget to give detailed answers that may help you discover why a sentence needs to 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.. It’s easier to catch grammar errors if you aren’t checking spelling and punctuation at the same time. On top of that, a few of the methods that will work effectively for spotting a particular kind of fault will not find some.
- Study sluggish, and study almost every word. Check out , which factors people to say each one phrase plus helps you pick up precisely how the thoughts tone collectively. When you check out soundlessly or too quickly, you may omit through glitches or make unconscious corrections.
- Different the writing into particular person phrases. This is often yet another solution to help you to to read through every last phrase carefully. Simply click the come back primary right after each timeframe to ensure just about every brand will start a whole new phrase. Then check out every one phrase as a stand alone, trying to find grammar, punctuation, or spelling issues. Try using an opaque object like a ruler or a piece of paper to isolate the line you’re working on.
- Circle every single punctuation symbol. This forces you to check out each one of these. Ask yourself if the punctuation is correct.
- Look into the report in the opposite direction. This system is useful for examining spelling. Start with the previous expression on the continue page and work your way back in the start, examining each and every expression independently. And grammar won’t make any sense, your focus will be entirely on the spelling of each word, becausepunctuation and content. You can also browse in the opposite direction sentence by sentence to check on grammar; this will help you refrain from growing to be distracted by article content challenges.
- Proofreading can be a finding out practice. You are not merely in search of flaws that you simply acknowledge; you are also learning how to identify and suitable new problems. Here is where handbooks and dictionaries come in. You want to keep versions you see valuable good at 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.