Writing Program Proofreading Guide

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1 Writing Program Proofreading Guide All essays in 101 should be proofread and edited to repair basic errors in grammar and punctuation. This is a checklist of the most common sources of error in 101 essays at Rutgers. It is not a comprehensive guide but a working guide for the final stage of the revision process editing for basic errors. 101 teachers should use this and the following citation guide in conjunction with The Prentice Hall Reference Guide, the handbook. Sentence Grammar Subject-Verb Agreement Singular subjects take singular verbs. Plural subjects take plural verbs. The thoughts that a reader is thinking is only considered "great" when others know those thoughts. The thoughts that a reader is thinking are only considered "great" when others know those thoughts. Verb Tense Shift Avoid unnecessary shifts from present to past, or past to present tense. A shift from past tense to present tense. When Drucker wrote about the rise and fall of blue-collar workers in the twentieth century, he describes the transition There are two options. Change the present tense describes to the past tense: When Drucker wrote about the rise and fall of blue-collar workers in the twentieth century, he described the transition Change the past tense wrote to the present tense: When Drucker writes about the rise and fall of blue-collar workers in the twentieth century, he describes the transition Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

2 Pronouns often refer to something the writer has already named an antecedent. The pronoun and its antecedent should agree in number and person. Agreement in Number (Singular or Plural) Disagreement in number between the singular reader and the plural they in the following example. The word "valid" must be defined by the reader. They determine what an acceptable meaning is. Alter the plural they with the singular he or she to agree with the singular reader in the first sentence below. The word "valid" must be defined by the reader. He or she determines what an acceptable meaning is. Agreement in Person (First, Second, or Third) Disagreement in person between third person ( his ) and second person ( your ) in the following example. His theory was to avoid their rules by living your life under your own set of rules. Change the second person ( your ) to the third person throughout the sentence. His theory was to avoid their rules by living his life under his own set of rules. Vague Pronoun Reference Often found in sentences beginning with this, these, they, it, she, or he. The pronoun this in the second sentence of following example refers to something in the first sentence The problem is that this is vague. We feel we must own the latest car, the latest clothes, the latest technology. This is created by the media. The writer has to decide what the vague pronoun ( this ) refers to and rewrite the sentence to make the reference clear. We feel we must own the latest car, the latest clothes, and the latest technology. This feeling is created by the media.

3 Sentence Inegrity Make sure that your thoughts do not fall into fragments or slide together into run-on sentences and comma splices. Sentence Fragments A fragment is an unattached phrase or dependent clause. Most fragments belong to the sentence that precedes or follows. We can read Drucker s ideas about the challenges in the knowledge society from de Waal s point of view. A point of view that identifies problems with the idea that organisms are selfish by nature. Simply change the first period to a comma. We can read Drucker s ideas about the challenges in the knowledge society from de Waal s point of view, a point of view that identifies problems with the idea that organisms are selfish by nature. Run-on or Fused Sentences Run-on sentences contain two sentences brought together without punctuation. There is no separation between the private and the public in American culture violation of privacy is always present. The writer must decide how he or she will revise the run-on, using a period or a conjunction: Fix with a Period: There is no separation between the private and the public in American culture. Violation of privacy is always present. Fix with a Conjunction: There is no separation between the private and the public because, in American culture, violation of privacy is always present. Comma Splices A comma splice is formed when you join two complete sentences with nothing but a comma.

4 The writer uses a comma instead of a period. Kaldor writes about warfare in the twenty-first century, she To revise, substitute a period for the comma or use a coordinating conjunction after the comma (and, or, nor, but, for, yet). Fix with a Period: Kaldor writes about warfare in the twenty-first century. She Fix with a Coordinating Conjunction: Kaldor writes about warfare in the twenty-first century, and she Punctuation Comma Between the items in a series of words, phrases, or clauses: We all know that we are important no matter what we drive, but we also know that the automobile still causes jealousy, anxiety, and competition. Between two independent clauses: We judge people by their economic status, and in doing so we build a scale called the "social hierarchy." On either side of a non-restrictive clause (the clause often begins with who, whose, which, when, or where): Gladwell writes about the trial of a man, whose name is Bernard Goetz, in order to illustrate his point about the importance of context. After an introductory phrase or dependent clause: After reading Drucker s description of the knowledge society, one is uncertain just how the non-knowledge workers will fit in. Apostrophe to Show Possession

5 Add an 's to singular and to collective nouns to show ownership: Singular nouns: Faulkner's experiences, the city's budget. Collective nouns: a society's codes, the group's work. When the singular noun ends in an s, add the 's and then say the word aloud. boss's, Krakauer's, Stephens's If it sounds too awkward, drop the final s, but keep the apostrophe: Davies' story To form the possessive of plural nouns ending in s, add only an apostrophe: consumers' desires, students' rooms Don't confuse personal pronouns (no apostrophe) with contractions (apostrophe): its = possessive pronoun, no apostrophe. Its leaves have fallen. it's = a contraction (of it is), apostrophe. It's a confusing idea. your = possessive pronoun, no apostrophe your pen, your paper, your words. you're = a contraction (of you are), apostrophe You're right.

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