Proofreading is a very important step of the writing process, and it is a good idea to learn a system that you use every time you write. A composition with wonderful ideas and good organization is ruined if it is filled with punctuation and grammar mistakes. If you carefully proofread, your writing will become stronger.
1. Read backwards: start at the end of the composition and work your way up. You will catch many errors because you will not be concentrating on the whole paper, but its individual parts like punctuation and spelling.
2. Read aloud very slowly and include pauses for punctuation.
3. Read syllable by syllable aloud: this is similar to number 2, but makes you concentrate on the
spelling of individual words.
4. Do not try to find all errors in one reading. Concentrate on one area at a time. For example,
First, read your composition focusing on spelling, then punctuation and, finally, grammar.
Some Common Mistakes
1. Final punctuation: is it the correct mark?
3. Verb tense changes: if you are telling a story that happened in the past, make sure all your
verbs are in the past tense.
5. Repeated or dropped words: for example, She went to movie. (needs “the”) or She went to the the movie. (repeated “the”)
6. Subject verb agreement: He run. (should be He runs.)
Some Other Suggestions
1. Exchange papers with a partner. Fresh eyes often catch silly mistakes.
2. Use a dictionary
3. Use spell check
4. Use a thesaurus
5. Ask a teacher
The following sentences have errors. Practice the strategies suggested to find the errors. The answer key is below.
1. “I’m not sure where go when I get there” javier said (4 errors)
2. Philip looked over the montain and spies smoke from the the enemy camps. (3 errors)
3. the basketball friday night was relly close. We only won three points in overtime. (5 errors)
4. Mozart was composing and performing music at Age of six (3 errors)
5. Sally sat looking at principle’s door, wondering if if she had done the right thing. (3 errors)
6. Each of these ferns need extra
care. (1 error)
1. “I’m not sure where to go when I get there,” Javier said. (4 errors)
2. Philip looked over the mountain and spied smoke from the enemy camps. (3 errors)
3. The basketball game Friday night was really close. We only won by three points in overtime. (5 errors)
4. Mozart was composing and performing music at the age of six. (3 errors)
5. Sally sat looking at the principal’s door, wondering if she had done the right thing.
6. Each of these ferns needs extra care. (1 error)
(July 7, 2013)
(Includes all 2002 to date Weekly Features with descriptions)