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Proofreading; what is THAT all about? Options · View
Guest
Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 7:09:10 AM

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Often stories are sent back with a request to carefully proofread the text in order to find spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.

The following excerpts are from Editing and Proofreading.

What is proofreading?

Quote:
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 is it necessary?

Quote:
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.


How can a writer proofread his or her own work?

Quote:
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 slowly, and read every word. Try reading out loud, 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.

* Ignorance may be bliss, but it won't make you a better proofreader. You'll often find things that don't seem quite right to you, but you may not be quite sure what's wrong either. A word looks like it might be misspelled, but the spell checker didn't catch it. You think you need a comma between two words, but you're not sure why. Should you use "that" instead of "which"? If you're not sure about something, look it up.

* The proofreading process becomes more efficient as you develop and practice a systematic strategy. You'll learn to identify the specific areas of your own writing that need careful attention, and knowing that you have a sound method for finding errors will help you to focus more on developing your ideas while you are drafting the paper.



More information on proofreading:

http://www.ucc.vt.edu/stdysk/proofing.html

http://www.lrcom.com/tips/proofreading_editing.htm

And a proofreading quiz. Take it and see how well you do at proofreading:

Proofreading Quiz

DirtyMartini
Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 8:22:55 AM

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Was that quiz supposed to be stupidly easy???


Words quiz
'Proofreading' level C - results



Well done, you've finished the quiz.
You scored 10/10 [100.0%] so why not print out your certificate?



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magnificent1rascal
Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 9:41:17 AM

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This is all excellent advice! Thanks for posting it, Gypsy.

The following suggestion is particularly helpful:

Quote:
* Read slowly, and read every word. Try reading out loud, 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.


Putting aside the fact that the corrections one might make if reading too quickly are subconscious rather than unconscious, this is a great recommendation. All too often, writers are so eager to have their work published that they rush through the proofreading process and miss critical errors.

Maggie Rascal
DirtyMartini
Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 9:48:23 AM

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Don't tell me you're actually suggesting that people proofread their stories???

Damn...I'm glad it's April Fools Day...icon_smile


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Jillicious
Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 12:59:28 PM

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I also find it useful to put the work aside for a week or two before having another look at it. I find that some mistakes have added themselves during my time away. It is an odd phenomenon.

Thousands of user submitted stories removed from the site. You are nothing without your users or their freely submitted stories.
magnificent1rascal
Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 1:51:31 PM

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Jillicious wrote:
I also find it useful to put the work aside for a week or two before having another look at it. I find that some mistakes have added themselves during my time away. It is an odd phenomenon.


Funny how that happens, isn't it? I've never understood it either.

Maggie Rascal
myself
Posted: Saturday, April 02, 2011 2:43:32 PM

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LOL OUCH : ) -edit thanks


Torture the data long enough and they will confess to anything.
Guest
Posted: Wednesday, June 08, 2011 9:25:24 AM

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fish
Guest
Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 9:59:40 AM

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fish
Coco
Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 11:59:56 AM

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Ruthie
Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 6:15:37 PM

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DirtyMartini wrote:
Was that quiz supposed to be stupidly easy???


Words quiz
'Proofreading' level C - results



Well done, you've finished the quiz.
You scored 10/10 [100.0%] so why not print out your certificate?


It may have been stupidly easy for you, but I couldn't even get the link to work for me.
nicola
Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 6:38:47 PM

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You scored 100%.

The quizzes aren't particularly difficult!
DirtyMartini
Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 11:12:40 PM

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CoopsRuthie wrote:


It may have been stupidly easy for you, but I couldn't even get the link to work for me.


Lol...that's not a good start...no gold star for you today...


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Michael
Posted: Thursday, December 01, 2011 8:53:06 PM

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OK, I passed the test.... but I coudn't undrstand dat guy talkin in da beginnin' movie




charmbrights
Posted: Friday, December 02, 2011 9:15:41 AM

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gypsymoth wrote:
... And a proofreading quiz. Take it and see how well you do at proofreading:

Proofreading Quiz


The problem with this is proofreading your own work is close to impossible, because your brain corrects the image the eye offers to what it "knows" is there. That is how errors appear to creep in after a week or so. Try reading something you wrote a year or more ago - somehow the errors seem to have bred; at least they do in my scribbles.

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Michael
Posted: Friday, December 02, 2011 3:18:01 PM

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Charmbrights,

So true!
Thank You.

Guest
Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013 11:13:21 AM

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Bump angel7

Guest
Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013 12:20:07 PM

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Some writers use the proofreading stage for strictly technical checks, such as spelling, grammar, typos, and punctuation. It's like the final rehearsal for a stage play. Like a rehearsal, it can also serve the writer to check their "usage" and style. Reading it aloud to yourself can help you see how it flows or doesn't. One of the things, I try to pay attention to in proofreading is usage. Do I use the same word too much? Do I have a cliche there that can be expressed more creatively with another word or phrase? Have I "told" something that can be better expressed by "showing"? Are there too many or not enough adjectives/adverbs to describe something? Of course, some of these should take place during the raw writing or the later editing phase, but the final proofreading can be used these ways, too, for that "polishing".
seeker4
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 8:55:00 AM

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yourmisterdark wrote:
Some writers use the proofreading stage for strictly technical checks, such as spelling, grammar, typos, and punctuation. It's like the final rehearsal for a stage play. Like a rehearsal, it can also serve the writer to check their "usage" and style. Reading it aloud to yourself can help you see how it flows or doesn't. One of the things, I try to pay attention to in proofreading is usage. Do I use the same word too much? Do I have a cliche there that can be expressed more creatively with another word or phrase? Have I "told" something that can be better expressed by "showing"? Are there too many or not enough adjectives/adverbs to describe something? Of course, some of these should take place during the raw writing or the later editing phase, but the final proofreading can be used these ways, too, for that "polishing".


Actually, I find I do much more of the polishing than the proofreading towards the end. I get a lot of the basic grammar and spelling stuff in earlier passes and the final proof tends to catch more awkward phrasing and repetitive usage and things like that.


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Katje
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 11:25:52 AM

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I've also found that having a fresh pair of eyes helps. A good friend of mine is my proof-reader. One thing I've found is it's not just a first-go thing; rarely have we just gone over the story just once. There've been several instances where the email was passed back and forth, even when I was the proof-reader!

It's communication on both parts. But, like charmbrights said, we don't sometimes see our own errors. My friend catches small stuff all the time!


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Secure4U
Posted: Sunday, September 01, 2013 6:22:54 AM

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I understand the need for proofreading however, I recently submitted my first story and and it wasn't published due to errors crybaby . But, I read several stories that also contained errors (spelling, run on sentences, etc) which were published.
sweet_as_candy
Posted: Sunday, September 01, 2013 6:55:55 AM

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Secure4U wrote:
I understand the need for proofreading however, I recently submitted my first story and and it wasn't published due to errors crybaby . But, I read several stories that also contained errors (spelling, run on sentences, etc) which were published.


Sent you a pm.

If you do notice glaringly obvious mistakes on a story please pm a story moderator who can take a look over it :)







Guest
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 10:34:35 AM

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I find I read the story and not the mistakes.
It doesn't help when those picking fault with your work send comments like this one, from a mod that refused a story on grammar and punctuation.

There is a few small issues with the story and I have included some links for you to look over.

dontknow
Dirty_D
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 11:17:19 AM

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Te11tale wrote:
I find I read the story and not the mistakes.
It doesn't help when those picking fault with your work send comments like this one, from a mod that refused a story on grammar and punctuation.

There is(this is an example right here. This should be Are) a few small issues with the story and I have included some links for you to look over.

dontknow


The point behind sending the link is for you to read the link and learn the correct way to do things then reread and edit your work. The mod is not there to correct your work. there are several people on the a different thread who have offered to help as well. Have you tried contacting the mod who rejected your story? we are all willing to help those who need additional help.
Guest
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:29:31 PM

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And the point I made was that the error of "There is a few" was from the Mod, copied from the message I received faulting my work.
And yet as someone else mentioned, there are stories posted with far worse errors than mine.

I thought this site was for stories, not A level English.
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