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2 Tutorials that teach Proofreading
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Author: Mackenzie W

Understand the proofreading stage of the writing process.

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Hi everyone. I'm Mackenzie, and today we're learning about proofreading. Are you the type of person who notices small details? In this tutorial, we'll learn about the definition of proofreading. We'll discuss when to do proofreading, and we'll talk about things to look for when you're proofreading.

We'll begin by discussing the definition of proofreading. When I say proofreading, what I'm talking about is correcting the grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and formatting errors in a piece of writing. Sometimes proofreading is also called proofing. They are interchangeable terms. It should be noted that proofreading is not the same thing as editing. In the writing process, when we complete the stage of editing, what we're doing is we're changing the sound of the writing. We're changing the way that the writing actually sounds. Changing word choice, the way that we have phrased things. That's not proofreading.

It should also be made clear that proofreading is not revising. The revising stage of the writing process is when we revision or we rethink our ideas, our support, our organization of the writing, and we change things to best suit our thesis for the writing. That's also not proofreading. Proofreading is changing the small grammar, punctuation, spelling, mechanics details of our writing.

Now that we know what proofreading is, let's discuss the preferable time to use proofreading in our writing. Proofreading is typically the last stage in the writing process, but that doesn't mean that you have to wait until the end of your writing to use proofreading. You can proofread your writing at any time. If you're writing and you notice a spelling problem or a grammar issue, you can go ahead and fix it right then. But it's important to make sure that when you are finishing your writing, proofreading is the last thing you do.

You want to have one final round of proofreading to make sure there are no small errors in mechanics, grammar, spelling in your writing. Do this after you've finished revising and editing, so that you come at it with a clear head. You want to be looking at it with a fresh set of eyes so to speak. You have to make sure that you have one last round of proofreading, because if your paper has small errors in it, such as spelling or punctuation errors, that's going to seem unimpressive to the reader. It's going to seem sloppy. It could even be distracting.

We want our writing to be as polished and professional as possible, and proofreading helps us to do that. Proofreading is the one stage in the writing process that you can actually use someone else's help with. All other stages need to be done on your own. Otherwise, it's actually a form of plagiarism, presenting someone else's work as your own. Proofreading is a little different though, because instead of changing our ideas, we're simply making sure that we follow the rules of grammar, spelling, , punctuation formatting, mechanics, and so on. And we can use help with that.

Sort of like if you use a spell checker on a computer. That's helping you with your proofreading, so it's OK to have someone else read over your paper to pinpoint any mistakes you might have missed. But keep in mind that that's the only time that someone else can help you. Otherwise everything else you write has to come from your own brain. It has to be your own ideas.

When we proofread, there are a few main types of problems that we want to keep an eye out for and correct them when we find them. They include spelling errors, typos, capitalization problems, punctuation errors, grammar, and syntax problems, such as run on, incomplete, or awkward sentences. Missing or misplaced articles, the usage of passive voice, quote formatting, whether it's in the text or in our reference page or bibliography. References to an author. This is the way that we described the author using the author's name.

We can look at the formatting, the margins, the font, the font size, and anything else that's part of the assignment or the parameters of the writing itself. And we should be sure to use a spell checker. We're going to be word processing or typing our writing on a computer, and there are some tools to help us with the proofreading. Be sure to use those tools, but don't solely rely on proofreading tools. You still have to read through your writing. If a word is spelled correctly, the proofreading tools won't catch it even if it's not actually the correct word for that instance,

Take a look at these examples of proofreading. In order to proofread this paragraph, I'm going to read the paragraph out loud which is often a useful tool when proofreading. I'll stop when I find errors that need to be corrected. Across the United States. And here I see that United States is not capitalized. It should be, because it's a proper noun, the name of a country. Jokes and stereotypes are made about senior drivers, alluding to the idea that Americans perceive senior citizens to be poor drivers. David Motton, a journalist, it seems as though there should be a comma between David Martin and a journalist. Because a journalist is describing who David Motton is. I'll include that.

David Motton, a journalist for the telegraph. I'll go ahead and include another comma after the telegraph, because a journalist for the telegraph is its own separate clause that's giving us more information about who David Motton is. Describes a survey conducted by auto trader magazine, stating that 73%. Here I see that I've used the percent sign. I really should write out the word percent, instead of using a sign to take the place of a word. 73 percent of respondents. The word respondents here doesn't look quite right. If I use my spell checker, I notice that respondent's is spelled incorrectly.

The A needs to actually be an e. Respondents agree that the driving skills and behaviors of senior, 65 years and older, drivers can be concerning. Here I have the words can be, that's passive voice. I wonder if there is an active verb that I could use to replace this passive voice. Instead of saying, can be concerning, I can actually just say concerned them. This finding proves that many Americans view the driving of older drivers as a potential safety risk, which demonstrates the need for legal policy regarding this problem.

You may notice that I have an incomplete sentence here. The sentence beginning with the word which is incomplete. Instead of having these two sentences as separate sentences, I will change the period to a comma, which will link them together and eliminate the problem of the last sentence being incomplete.

This example showed us some of the things we should look for when we're proofreading. Keep in mind that proofreading means focusing on spelling, grammar, mechanics, punctuation errors. And we need to look for all of them, and know the rules about how to use them to proofread effectively. In this tutorial, we learned about the definition of proofreading. We discussed when to proofread, and we talked about things to look for when proofreading. Always notice the small details. I'm Mackenzie. Thanks for listening.

Terms to Know

Fixing grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and formatting errors in an essay or other piece of writing.