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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 can edit my paper: essay editing & professional proofreading service proofread my paper grammar, plagiarism, and spelling check; free online proofreading; no you 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

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:

Content

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 .)

Overall structure

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 .)

Clarity

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.

Style

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 .)

Citations

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 roughly

This handout supplies some strategies and tips for revising your producing. To provide you the ability to practice proofreading, we have now placed 8 flaws (3 spelling faults, two punctuation blunders, and a couple of grammatical blunders) from the content of this particular handout. See if you can area them!

Is modifying the same as proofreading?

Not exactly. Even though many consumers make use of the words interchangeably, editing and proofreading are two unique steps of the revision practice. They focus on different aspects of the writing and employ different techniques.

Some suggestions that relate to equally modifying and proofreading

  • Acquire some range from your text! It is harder to change or proofread a papers that you have just completed publishing-it’s also to recognizable, and you simply usually miss around a considerable amount of problems. Put the paper aside for a fewdays and hours. Alternatively, weeks. Invest in a work. Take a trip for the beach. Distinct your mind products you’ve published so that you can have a new go through the old fashioned paper and find out just what is definitely within the site. Better yet, provide paper towards a colleague-you can not get a great deal more extended distance than that. A person that is examining the pieces of paper for the first time, involves it with absolutely new little brown eyes.
  • Figure out what medium sized means that you can proofread most properly. Quite a few people plan to deliver the results right at the computer system, although some desire to unwind along with a screen printed replicate they can label as they check out.
  • Consider modifying the appearance of your rec
    ord.
    Altering the color, spacing and size or sort of the words may technique the brain into imagining it’s seeing an different record, and which can help you receive a several perspective on what you have authored.
  • Look for a calm destination for a deliver the results. Don’t endeavor to do your proofreading ahead of the Television set or whilst you are chugging gone for the treadmill. Obtain a site 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’re shorter on time, you may decide to focus on. Be sure that you total the most critical editing and proofreading duties.

Editing and enhancing

Editing and enhancing is actually you begin executing when you surface the first draft. You reread your write to discover, for instance, regardless if the pieces of paper is well-planned, the transitions involving sentences are clean, with your information certainly backs your issue. You possibly can modify on a few ranges:

Information

Get you completed anything the assignment involves? Are the cases you will make correct? Does your paper make an argument if it is required to do so? Stands out as the argument accomplish? Are all of your promises frequent? Have you ever reinforced each individual issue with appropriate information? Is every one of the information and facts as part of your report connected to the project and/or your existing writing end goal? (For additional guidelines, see our handouts on understanding tasks and .)

Total composition

Does your old fashioned paper present an best suited introduction and conclusion? Is the thesis distinctly expressed as part of your introduction? Do you find it crystal clear how each section within your body of the cardstock relates to your thesis? Would be the lines organized inside of a realistic series? Do you have developed very clear transitions involving paragraphs? One way to look into the building of your pieces of paper is to establish a .)

System throughout lines

Does just about every paragraph take a distinct topic phrase? Does each one paragraph adhere to one particular key approach? What are the extraneous or missing phrases in all of your paragraphs? (See our .)

Lucidity

Have you outlined any crucial conditions that has to be unclear towards your readers? Stands out as the concept of each phrase straightforward? (One particular way to reply to this query is to try to browse your paper an individual phrase at a time, setting up at the conclusion and doing the job backwards so you not unconsciously fill out content from previous phrases.) Will it be clear what each individual pronoun (it, he, this, she, which, they and who etcetera.) is the term for? Do you have picked the perfect words and phrases to show your thoughts? Avoid using ideas you see during the thesaurus that aren’t section of your regular vocabulary; you could misuse them.

Style

Have you made use of the ideal color (persuasive, informal and formal and many others.)? Will be your by using gendered foreign language (feminine and masculine pronouns like “he” or And#8220;she,” phrases like “fireman” that contain And#8220;mankind,” and phrases that most people wrongly consider connect with just one single gender-to illustrate, quite a few people expect “health care workerAnd#8221; have to talk about a girl) appropriate? You may have diversified the structure and length of your respective phrases? Does one usually take advantage of the inactive voice too much? Does your publishing contain lots of excessive keyword phrases like And#8220;there is always,And#8221; And#8220;you will discover,” “mainly because that,” and the like.? Can you repeat a solid text (to illustrate, a dramatic key verb) unnecessarily? (For recommendations, see our .)

Citations

Get you properly reportedquotes and paraphrases, and ideas you have from places? Will be the citations in the proper file format? (Look at the to find out more.)

Once you modify at all of these quantities, you can expect to make vital changes for the subject matter and wording of your document. If you are editing a large document like a thesis or dissertation, keep an eye out for patterns of error; knowing what kinds of problems you tend to have will be helpful, especially. Upon having diagnosed a design, you possibly can create processes for spotting and rectifying forthcoming cases of that structure. 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

Proofreading may be the finalized phase of the enhancing technique, concentrating on top mistakes which include misspellings and blunders in grammar and punctuation. Make sure you proofread only after you have finished each of your other enhancing revisions.

Why proofread? It is the content that basically concerns, perfect?

Content is crucial. But like it or maybe not, the way in which a document is visually is affecting the best way many others decide it. When you’ve worked well tricky to acquire and provide your thoughts, you never want sloppy flaws annoying your viewer from what you have to say. It’s worth making time for the specifics that allow you to develop a fine feeling.

Lots of people devote just a couple moments to proofreading, planning to get any glaring errors that leap out from the web page. But a quick and cursory looking at, mainly after you have been doing business long and hard on a report, generally misses lots. It’s considerably better to partner with an absolute plan that really helps to lookup systematically for exact varieties of errors.

It pays off in the end, although

Sure, this takes a little extra time. 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 composing proccess extremely effective.

Keep the enhancing and proofreading activities standalone. If you are editing and enhancing an earlier write, you do not desire to be bothered with making plans for 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 method

You probably previously use examples of the practices described under. Try out diverse methods right until you get a strategy that works well for you. The main thing is always to make process organized and centered so you grab as many problems as it can be inside very least duration.

  • Do not count solely on spelling checkers. These may come in handy resources but are definitely not foolproof. Spell checkers enjoy a restricted dictionary, so some words and phrases that show up as misspelled may possibly definitely just not stay in their reminiscence. Furthermore, spell checkers will never get misspellings that create a further reasonable 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.

  • Sentence structure checkers can be even more difficult. These packages make use of a constrained selection of procedures, in order that they cannot identify just about every problem and in most cases make a few mistakes. In addition they forget to give thorough answers to guide you discover why a phrase 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.

  • 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. If you aren’t checking spelling and punctuation at the same time, It’s easier to catch grammar errors. On top of that, examples of the tactics that work well for recognizing a person types of miscalculation won’t seize other folks.

  • Browse poor, and skim just about every phrase. Look at , which energies someone to say every single phrase and in addition helps you listen to the way the thoughts tone together with each other. While you read through soundlessly or too rapidly, perhaps you may miss in excess of issues or make unconscious modifications.

  • Different the writing into particular person phrases. This really is a further procedure that may help you to find out almost every phrase cautiously. Purely click the go back critical soon after each phase making sure that almost every sections starts a new sentence. Then check out every one phrase as a stand alone, hunting for sentence structure, punctuation, or spelling errors. Try using an opaque object like a ruler or a piece of paper to isolate the line you’re working on.

  • Group of friends each punctuation sign. This energies you to observe each one. As you circle, ask yourself if the punctuation is correct.

  • Look at the cardstock in reverse. This system helps for examining spelling. Start with the next word to the previous work and page the best path return to your first step, browsing each one text individually. And grammar won’t make any sense, your focus will be entirely on the spelling of each word, becausecontent and punctuation. Additionally you can browse in the opposite direction sentence by phrase to confirm sentence structure; this will aid stay clear of growing to be preoccupied by articles problems.

  • Proofreading can be a understanding approach. You’re not just looking for issues that you figure out; you are also learning how to identify and correct new glitches. This is where dictionaries and handbooks can be found in. Keep the models you detect beneficial special to hand as you may 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

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 pr
obably 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.