Powerful Proofreading Designed By Elisa Paramore
Importance of Proofreading • If a paper is not proofread carefully before it is turned in, a paper that may have deserved an “A” may instead, earn a “D” because of careless mistakes such as misspelled words, misplaced commas, either adding an “s” where one is not needed, or omitting one that is needed or because of problems with subject verb agreement.
Most Common ProofreadingError Found • spelling- including transposition or omission • grammar • punctuation • faulty subject /verb agreement • homophone confusion • spacing errors between words or letters in words • omission of word (or words) from sentences
Most Common Homophone Mistakes • A homophone is a word that sounds like another but is spelled differently and means something different • Examples: using accept instead of except, advice instead of advise, affect instead of effect, cite or sight instead of site, loose instead of lose, principal instead of principle, quiet instead of quite, then instead of than, their or there instead of they’re, too or two instead of to, whether instead of weather, and whose instead of who’s
Steps to Proofreading • In order to proofread your paper effectively, consider proofreading you paper one time for each of these three different areas: • Organization • Grammar • Mechanics
Proofreading for Organization • Consider asking yourself the following questions concerning how your paper is organized: • Is there a definite beginning, middle and end? • Have I included a thesis statement (main point) at the end of the introductory paragraph? • Does the introductory paragraph serve as a guide to the rest of the paper?
Has each paragraph been developed using examples, relevant details and/or illustrations? • Is the topic sentence in each paragraph clear? • Does the concluding paragraph serve as an effective end to the paper? • Have effect transitions been used in the paper?
Are all supporting sentences related to the topic sentence of each paragraph? • Do all the paragraphs make sense? • Are all the sentences in the paragraphs arranged in a logical order? • As a whole does the paper “sound” right?
Proofreading for Grammar & Mechanics • Does each sentence have a subject and verb and make sense by themselves? • Do all subjects & verbs agree in voice and number? • Are active and passive verbs used correctly? Are singular subjects linked with singular verbs and plural subjects with plural verbs? (Remember: Singular subjects do not end in “s” but singular verbs do and that plural subjects do end in “s” but plural verbs do not.)
Are the verbs in each sentence in the same tense?( present, past, future, etc. Remember that in most cases the first verb in the sentence establishes the tense of later verbs.) • Are all pronoun references clear? Remember that each pronoun must agree in number and in gender with the noun it modifies and it must be clear what noun it refers to. Sometimes you must add a word, or even rewrite a sentence so that the reference is clear. Example: I am a lab instructor in the biology department and am also taking a composition course. This has always been difficult for me. (can you tell from these sentences what is difficult?)
Answer to question about pronoun reference example • The reference is more clear if the sentence is written: I am a lab instructor in the biology department and am also taking composition, a course that has always been difficult for me.” (In this sentence the reader can see that the composition course is what is difficult.)
In regard to each comma, what is the rule that is applied to its use? • Are there any comma splices, fragments or run-ons?
Why was each semicolon used? • Is each apostrophe where it needs to be? (Use the _______ belongs to _______, test to check for possession.)
Are all words spelled correctly? • Do all words requiring capitalization have capital letters? • Does each sentence have end punctuation marks?
3 Things To Do To Make Sure You Proofread Thoroughly • Take your time • Proof read your paper at least 3 times. First, for overall organization. A second time for grammar mistakes and the third time for mechanics such as typographical errors.It is best if you proofread out loud. • Let someone else proofread your paper for these things, if possible.
Other Important Things to Consider • Ignore content when reading for grammar and mechanical errors. • Assume that there is at least one typographical error per page. • Forget what you meant to say and concentrate on what is written. • Set aside time to do nothing else but proofread
Answer these Important Questions • If you have written an effective paper your answer to all of these questions should be “yes” • Do I feel I have said something important to my reader? • Am I sincerely committed to communicating with my reader and not just myself? • Have I considered my reader’s needs?
Important Questions to Ask Yourself • Do my title and lead in attract my reader’s attention and help set up my thesis? • Does my thesis statement assert one clearly focused idea? • Does my thesis and/or essay give the reader an indication of what main points the essay will cover? • Do the body paragraphs contain the necessary main points in the essay’s discussion and are the main points expressed in clearly stated or implied sentences • Is each major point in my essay well developed with enough detailed supporting evidence?
Does each body paragraph have unity and coherence? • Are all paragraphs smoothly linked in a logical order? • Is the conclusion a suitable ending for my paper? • Are all sentences clear, concise and coherent? • Are all of my words accurate, necessary and meaningful? • Have I edited for mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling and typing ? 19
Conclusion • I hope that this presentation has been helpful in regard to focusing your attention on the important areas of proofreading. Please come by Student Support Services to fill out an Academic Enrichment Summary so that we may document your participation. If you are viewing this workshop via the internet you may click on the link in the directions box on the Workshops page and print one out or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org • . If you have further questions about this, or any other topic in English, please feel free to ask the Student Support Services English Instructor. Also, let her know if you have any suggestions for future presentations. Handouts available upon request. EXIT