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Tips For Proofreading

Don't let others find errors in your writing. Here are a few ideas to adopt when proofreading your own work. With a little bit of care, you can catch and correct the inevitable errors in grammar or spelling that slip in and cause one to appear amateurish. However, do not begin your proofreading until the content of your writing meets your satisfaction.

  • Search for sentence fragments and orphan words. They are often left behind after extensive rewriting. Every sentence normally should have a subject and a verb.

  • Check for use of the passive voice. You should have used the active voice for at least 80% or more of your verbs. If you did not, reword some of your sentences to express the verbs in an active voice.

  • Check the lengths of your sentences. Vary their lengths when writing. Your readers will appreciate the occasional short sentence. Break up any excessively long sentences.

  • Check for agreement between subjects and verbs. Singular subjects require singular verbs. Plural subjects take plural verbs.

  • Ensure that every sentence begins with a capital letter.

  • Ensure that proper nouns are capitalized.

  • Reread for punctuation. Remember that the purpose of punctuation is to aid the reader's understanding.

  • Read the work for continuity. Add, move, delete, or reword sentences to improve the flow, where required.

  • Check the spelling.

  • Finally, read the entire paper aloud slowly and listen to the language. This will help you to spot awkward phrasing, repetitive word usage, and complicated passages.

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