Editing and Proofreading. University Learning Centre Writing Help Ron Cooley, Professor of English

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1 Editing and Proofreading University Learning Centre Writing Help Ron Cooley, Professor of English

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3 3-stage writing process (conventional view) 1. Pre-writing Literature review Data collection and analysis Planning and outlining 2. Composition (Drafting) 3. Post Writing Revision Editing Proofreading

4 Recall Revision Workshop Global changes Add Subtract Rearrange Focus (often) on the Paragraph as key organizational unit. Also on Topic Sentences as signposts for readers. Have I said what I want to say? Have I presented my information completely and logically?

5 Editing and Proofreading Progressively finer details Editing Style Syntax (grammar and sentence structure) Diction (word choice and usage) Proofreading Spelling Punctuation

6 Theory vs. practice In practice we make all levels of changes at each stage in the writing process. We correct obvious grammar, spelling punctuation errors during global revision. We might occasionally rewrite whole sentences during proofreading.

7 Theory vs. Practice But thinking in terms of three stages of post writing, with three distinct goals, helps ensure the key questions all get proper attention. Have I said what I want to say? (Revision) Have I said it well? (Editing) Is every detail correct? (Proofreading)

8 A good basic guideline. Make at least three passes through an important document. Leave an interval of time between each. Time for the memory effect to wear off. Focus primarily on increasingly fine details on each pass.

9 Editing What are we looking for? Stylistic Faults Wordiness Look for phrases where single words will do. Look for stacked modifiers choose the best one. Look for unnecessary filler phrases--"it is," "there is," and "there are --at the beginning of sentences. Look for unnecessary lists. Look for unnecessary relative clauses beginning with which or that. Turn verbal nouns and participles ( --tion and --ing words) back into verbs.

10 Editing What are we looking for? Stylistic Faults Acronyms overused or not spelled out on first use. Gendered language. Emotional or inflammatory language. Colloquial language. Contractions. Unnecessary first person pronouns (I, we). Second-person pronouns (you).

11 Editing What are we looking for? Grammatical errors Missing or incorrect articles (ESL) Singular countable nouns need articles! Definite nouns (where both writer and reader know what is specifically being referred to) take the. Agreement errors (subject/verb; noun/pronoun) (Everybody)

12 Editing What are we looking for? Sentence Errors. Dangling modifiers Look especially for participles ing words at the beginning and end of the sentence. Faulty parallelism. Look closely at lists of terms within a sentence. Look for places where and attaches a phrase at the end of a sentence. Fragments, comma splices, run-on sentences. Learn when to use periods, commas, semi-colons and colons. Every sentence needs a subject (noun) and a predicate (verb).

13 Editing What are we looking for? Diction Errors 2 main types Incorrect usage The wrong word in the context Although applying these recommendations involves expense, the cost is incomparable with the damage caused by inaction. Unidiomatic usage Failing to follow customs of expression Especially with Prepositions These techniques are not mobile and cannot follow users on their daily lives. (unidiomatic) These techniques are not mobile and cannot follow users in their daily lives. (idiomatic)

14 Editing Strategies Put your draft aside for a few days (if possible) Try reading aloud. Isolate and decontextualize sentences. Force yourself to slow down. Read with a ruler.

15 Proofreading Technical Definition Where does the term come from? A publisher sends an author a proof. A copy of the article or book as it will appear in print. LAST CHANCE to make corrections. Often the author has to pay for each change made at this stage (unless it s to correct an error introduced by the publisher).

16 Proofreading Common usage By analogy to the technical definition. The corrections of fine detail you make to a document when it s almost ready for submission.

17 Proofreading Strategies Put your draft aside for a few days (if possible) Isolate and Decontextualize words. Force yourself to slow down. Read aloud. Read with a ruler (to focus attention and prevent skipping ahead). Read backwards.

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