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Editing and Proofreading
Author: ADMIN (ukstudent at gmail dot com)
Published: Wed, 03-Jan-2007
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Editing and Proofreading. Article by Catherine A. Cardwell

The last thing to do before you turn in your paper is a careful round of editing and proofreading. At this stage, you want to focus on revising sentences for correctness and clarity. Actually, one of the main reasons to edit your writing for correctness is that it will also make your writing clearer. Editing and proofreading are difficult, because it's hard to see errors in your own work, but with some patience - and maybe some help from a friend - you can really improve your paper with some small changes.

Some tips for effective editing and proofreading:

Try to give yourself a break between the time you complete your final version of the paper and the time you sit down to edit. Approaching your writing with a clear head and having at least an hour to work on editing will ensure that you can do a thorough, thoughtful job. The results will definitely be worthwhile.
Ask someone else to read over your paper and help you find sentences that aren't clear, places where you're being wordy, and any errors.
Try reading backwards, a sentence at a time. This will help you focus on the sentences, rather than getting caught up in the content of your paper.
Know your own patterns. Your instructor can probably help you identify the errors you've made most often in your previous papers, and then you can focus your attention on finding and fixing them.
Read through your paper several times, once looking just at spelling, another time looking just at punctuation, and so on. Again, this can help you focus so you'll do a better job.
Use the spell-checker on your computer, but use it carefully, and also do your own spell-checking. Computer spell-checkers often make errors - they might suggest a word that isn't what you want at all, and they don't know the difference between there, their, and they're, for example.
Get help. If you're not sure if you need that comma or whether to use "affect" or "effect," look it up in a writing handbook, or ask your instructor for help. Your campus probably has a writing center, and someone there might be able to help you learn to find and repair errors in your writing (though most writing centers won't edit or proofread your work for you).
Remember that editing isn't just about errors. You want to polish your sentences at this point, making them smooth, interesting, and clear. Watch for very long sentences, since they may be less clear than shorter, more direct sentences. Pay attention to the rhythm of your writing; try to use sentences of varying lengths and patterns. Look for unnecessary phrases, repetition, and awkward spots.

Copyright for this article belongs to Catherine A. Cardwell

This document was re-printed with the kind permission of Catherine A. Cardwell. Original Source of the article is located here: http://iws.ohiolink.edu/~sg-ysu/proofed.html

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