Editing and proof reading are valuable skills to have. One of the most important things in good writing is editing. It will help you in your other classes as well as English. This may not coincide with your idea of "fun," but it is a very important assignment. You may wonder why you are being asked to revise work that has already been graded. The key is to show you that you can always edit your work further. You can dare to edit an "A" assignment to make it even better. Read the directions before submitting your work on this lesson. Please ask questions if you need to.
No matter how many times you read through a "finished" paper, you're likely to miss many of your most frequent errors. Read the following to help you proofread more effectively :
The following strategies will help you slow down as you read through a paper and will therefore help you catch mistakes that you might otherwise overlook. As you use these strategies, remember to work slowly. If you read at a normal speed, you won't give your eyes sufficient time to spot errors.
- Read aloudReading a paper aloud encourages you to read every little word.
- Read with a "cover"Sliding a blank sheet of paper down the page as you read encourages you to make a detailed, line-by-line review of the paper.
- Role-playPlaying the role of the reader encourages you to see the paper as your audience might.
You won't be able to check for everything (and you don't have to), so you should find out what your typical problem areas are and look for each type of error individually. Here's how:
To locate and correct errors in your papers, find the strategies on the following pages that correspond to your typical problem areas and follow the step-by-step instructions provided for you. Each strategy is designed to focus your attention on only one particular error, so to be most effective, use only one strategy at a time. (Ask a Writing Lab tutor about any terms you don't understand and/or refer to Lab handouts.)
- Thesis/Focus/Main Point
1. Find your paper's thesis statement. Copy it on another sheet of paper. If your thesis is not directly stated, write down a possible thesis.
2. Locate the central idea of each paragraph and try to reduce that idea to a word or phrase. If you cannot decide on one phrase, list two or three options.
3. List the paragraph ideas. List these in order under your thesis.
4. Decide whether your paragraphs clearly relate to your thesis. If not, either rewrite your thesis to incorporate the unrelated ideas or eliminate the unrelated paragraphs.
- Paragraph Clarity1. Locate the central idea of each paragraph. Reduce that idea to a word or phrase.
2. Look at each paragraph randomly. Consider only the information in that paragraph.
3. Ask yourself whether you offer enough details in the paragraph to support that word or idea.
4. Decide whether all of your details are relevant.
5. Ask yourself whether all of the information is related enough to be in the same paragraph. Should you create another paragraph or move some of the details to another paragraph?
- Overall Coherence1. See whether you have clear transitions between paragraphs. If not, clarify existing transitions, add new ones, and/or rearrange your paragraphs to make transitions clearer.
transitions and coherence
- Subject/Verb Agreement1. Find the main verb in each sentence.
2. Match the verb to its subject.
3. Make sure that the subject and verb agree in number.
- Pronoun Reference/Agreement1. Skim your paper, stopping at each pronoun. Look especially at it, this, they, their, and them.
2. Search for the noun that the pronoun replaces. If you can't find any noun, insert one beforehand or change the pronoun to a noun. If you can find a noun, be sure it agrees in number and person with your pronoun.
- Parallel Structure1. Skim your paper, stopping at key words that signal parallel structures.
Look especially for and, or, not only...but also, either... or, neither...nor, both...and.
2. Make sure that the items connected by these words (adjectives, nouns, phrases, etc.) are in the same grammatical form.
- Spelling1. Examine each word in the paper individually.
Move from the end of each line back to the beginning. Pointing with a pencil helps you really see each word.
2. If necessary, check a dictionary to see that each word is spelled correctly.
- Compound Sentence Commas1. Skim for the conjunctions and, but, for, or, nor, so and yet.
2. See whether there is a complete sentence on each side of the conjunction.
If so, place a comma before the conjunction.
compound sentence commas
- Introductory Commas1. Skim your paper, looking only at the first two or three words of each sentence.
2. Stop if one of these words is a dependent marker, a transition word, a participle, or a preposition.
3. Listen for a possible break point before the main clause.
4. Place a comma at the end of the introductory phrase or clause (which is before the independent clause).
commas after introductions
- Comma Splices1. Skim the paper, stopping at every comma.
2. See whether there is a complete sentence on each side of the comma. If so, add a coordinating conjunction after the comma or replace the comma with a semicolon.
- Fragments1. Look at each sentence to see whether it contains an independent clause.
2. Pay special attention to sentences that begin with dependent marker words
(such as because) or phrases such as for example or such as.
3. See if the sentence might be just a piece of the previous sentence that mistakenly got separated by a period.
- Run-On Sentences1. Review each sentence to see whether it contains more than one independent clause. Start with the last sentence of your paper, and work your way back to the beginning, sentence by sentence.
2. Break the sentence into two sentences if necessary.
- Apostrophes1. Skim your paper, stopping only at those words which end in "s."
2. See whether or not each "s" word needs an apostrophe. If an apostrophe is needed, you will be able to invert the word order and say "of" or "of the":
- Mary's hat
- the hat of Mary
- Left-Out Words1. Read the paper aloud, pointing to every word as you read. Don't let your eye move ahead until you spot each word.
2. Also, make sure that you haven't doubled any words.
I highly recommend you read all of the instructions before submitting your work. For this lesson you are going to revise your graded work from Lesson 8 - Fact or Opinion Essay
Use the Editing Strategies above to help you. Make sure you include the following information in your submission, or I will ask you to repost:
When editing your work, look at grammar, spelling, word usage, etc., along with content. It is always beneficial to be flexible; look at everything you write as a work in progress. If you have any grammar questions, just ask me or use the links at the end of this assignment. Good luck!
Links to help you in your editing quest:
Grading for this lesson:
Also be aware that you will have a chance to revise your work. More than 2 revisions will result in a lower grade. So read the directions carefully and make sure you meet the requirements.
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