Polishing and Proofreading Your Writing
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Polishing and Proofreading Your Writing
UWC Writing Workshop
So…I’ve written a paper. What’s next? Do I just turn it in?Slide3
What we plan to cover today:
Tips and Tools for Editing and Proofreading your WritingRevision: Top Model Style?Writing Checklist: Have I done what I’m supposed to?Slide4
Aren’t editing and proofreading the same thing?
Not at all! While both of these concepts are integral to the writing process, both require something different of the writer.
: process you should begin doing as soon as you finish your first draft: reread your draft to see whether the paper is well-organized, transitions between paragraphs are smooth, and if evidence really backs up your argument.
: final stage of the editing process, focusing on surface errors such as misspellings and mistakes in grammar and punctuation; only complete after you have finished with all other editing.Slide5
When editing, consider…
: Have you done everything the assignment requires? (i.e. followed the prompt provided by your professor)
: Does your paper have an appropriate introduction and conclusion? Is your thesis clearly stated in your introduction? Is it clear how each paragraph in the body of your paper is related to your thesis?
: Have you defined any important terms or concepts that might be unclear to your reader? Is the meaning of each sentence clear?
: Is it appropriate (formal, informal, persuasive, etc.)? Have you varied the length and structure of your sentences?
: Have you appropriately cited quotes, paraphrases, and ideas from your sources? Have you used proper style guidelines (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)?Slide6
When proofreading, remember…
Don’t rely entirely on spell checkers
: These can be useful tools, but they are far from foolproof; they have a limited dictionary, so some words may not be in their memory.
Grammar checkers can be even more problematic
: These programs work with a limited number of rules, so they cannot identify every error and often make mistakes.
Proofread for only one kind of error at a time
: If you try to identify and proofread too many things at once, you risk losing focus and your proofreading will be less effective.
Read SLOW, and read every word
: Try reading out loud. This forces you to say each word and also lets you hear how the words sound together.Slide7
When proofreading, remember…(cont’d)
Separate the text into individual sentences
: This is another technique to help you read every sentence carefully. Simply press the return key after each period so that every line begins a new sentence.
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
: Start with the last word on the last page and work your way back to the beginning, reading each word separately.
Proofreading is a learning process
: You are not just looking for errors that you recognize; you are also learning to recognize and correct new errors. This is where dictionaries and handbooks come in. Keep the ones you find helpful close at hand as you proofread.Slide8
Read the following short passages, identify the various errors throughout, and make appropriate corrections.
Mohandas Gandhi was one of Indias most popular leaders. A Lawyer by trade, he left the law to fight personally for his peoples' rites against their British rulers. Deep comitted to nonviolence Gandhi was determined to win India's freedom by avoiding confrontation.
Gandhi and his followers knew that nonviolent protests could lead to imprisonment and even death, but they remained loyal to the independence movement until great Britain granted the independance of India and Pakistan in 1947.Slide9
Revision: Top Model Style?
https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/words-to-wise-georgia-writers/id531366316 (check out #9)Slide10
To revise effectively, you must reconsider every aspect of the writing process. Consider the questions below:
: What do I hope to achieve? How can I achieve it more effectively?
: Who is my audience? Does my writing meet some need or desire my audience might have?
: Is my topic interesting? Does it follow the guidelines for the assignment? Have I narrowed it down enough? Too much?
: How is my essay organized? Are the points arranged logically and coherently? Is each point clearly highlighted in its own paragraph, or have I jumbled points together? Can I expect my reader to understand my transitions and, if not, how can I make the transitions more clear?Slide11
Rethinking Revision (cont’d)
: Is each paragraph developed fully with concrete examples or illustrations? Have I avoided generalizations and abstractions? Have I emphasized the right points?
Style and Tone
: Is my writing clear and readable? Have I avoided slang? Where in my essay can I improve the effectiveness of my prose by using more active verbs and concrete nouns? Have I overused adjectives and adverbs, especially empty intensifiers such as “really,” “definitely,” and “very”?
: Have I eliminated all errors of spelling, grammar, and punctuation? Have I proofread for those errors that I often make?Slide12
Writing Checklist: Am I ready to turn in the paper?
DO check for…
you have one and, if so, does it refer in some way to your argument?
you have one and is it specific? Are you making a true argument or just stating an observation?
you have any and, if so, do they refer back to your thesis in some way? Does the paragraph stay on topic or does it stray?
Do you use details or evidence from the text source (i.e. quotations)?
Do you cite your quotations properly? Do you analyze/explain the quoted material fully?
Does your (hypo)thesis come at the end of the Intro. and the beginning of the Concl.? Do you refer back to your Intro. in your Concl.?
: Do you have one and is it properly formatted?Slide13
Writing Checklist? Am I ready to turn in the paper?
Turn your paper in without proofreading it first
Refer to yourself (use of
Use vague pronouns like
“you,” “we,” and “us”
Use generic words like “
Use repetitive words
End body paragraphs with quotations
Misspell the author’s name or title
Use past tense or future tense in your analysis
Use clichés, such as “
last but not least”
Use words you do not understandSlide14
Remember that the UWC is always here to help firstname.lastname@example.orgTLC 1201 (First floor, past the snacks)www.westga.edu/writing Like us on Facebook: University Writing Center (UWG)Slide15Slide16Slide17Slide18Slide19