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Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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This workshop reviews different grammar errors and correct grammar rules. It teaches students how to proofread and self-edit their papers, so they can catch and fix common mistakes.

Text of Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

  • 1. Avoid contractions in academic writing. Avoid using a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence. Ex: And, but, or, yet, so, for, nor Avoid slang, colloquialisms, and undefined jargon. Slang the way you talk with your friends or family Colloquialisms the language of a place/region Jargon the language of a job/field

2. Following the introductory clause Introductory clauses typically indicate time, order, or the state of things. Ex: After I ate dinner, When listing items in a series Ex: I have a cat, a dog, and a fish. 3. To attach two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction An independent clause is a sentence by itself Ex: The game was over, but the crowd refused to leave. Setting aside the nonessential elements Phrases that add clarity but arent necessary Ex: Mrs. Jones, our English teacher, gave a test today. 4. Sentence Fragments Run-on Sentences Misplaced Modifiers Dangling Modifiers 5. Sentence Fragments 6. Sentence Fragment a partial sentence that is set off as if it were a whole sentence by a capital letters and ending punctuation. Fragments do not express full ideas. 7. A sentence fragment lacks a subject or a verb. Lacks a main verb: Toys of all kinds thrown everywhere. Lacks a main subject: With the ultimate effect of advertising is to get you to spend money. A complete sentence contains both a subject and a verb. Ex: The wind blows. 8. To correct sentence fragments, make sure your sentence has a subject and a verb. Fragment: Working on an overdue paper. Correction: Zach stayed up late working on an overdue paper. 9. To correct sentence fragments, make sure your sentence has a subject and a verb. Fragment: Working on an overdue paper. Correction: Zach stayed up late working on an overdue paper. 10. To find sentence fragments: Read your paper aloud. An awkward sentence will stand out better if you hear it instead of merely seeing it. Read every sentence backwards starting at the end of your paper. This will stop your brain from automatically gluing sentences together. 11. Run-on Sentences 12. Run-on sentence a sentence that contains at least two ideas that can stand alone or a sentence that does not contain proper punctuation. The length of the sentence doesnt define a run-on; the amount of information in a single sentence does. Ex: The dog is whining she is hungry No proper punctuation between independent clauses. 13. Comma splice a kind of run-on sentence in which independent clauses are connected only by a comma. Ex: The cookies taste terrible, I forgot to add sugar. 14. Read the sentences aloud. If you run out of breath, you may want to separate some clauses. Use a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS). The is whining, for she is hungry. Use a semicolon. The dog is whining; she is hungry. 15. Misplaced Modifiers 16. Misplaced Modifier a phrase or clause placed in such a way in the sentence that it is unclear what part of the sentence is being modified Only he liked Sarah. He only liked Sarah. He liked only Sarah. 17. Try placing the modifiers near the words they modify. In most cases, adjective phrases and clauses should come immediately after the words they modify. Error: The car was stopped alongside the road with one headlight. Correction: The car with one headlight was stopped alongside the road. 18. Adverb phrases and clauses that modify verbs may be placed before or after the verb it modifies. Ex: When you leave, please close the door. Ex: Please close the door when you leave. 19. Place adverb modifiers as close as possible to the words they modify. Error: John told how his friend had fallen from the podium. Correction: From the podium, John told how his friend had fallen. 20. Dangling Modifiers 21. Dangling Modifier a phrase or clause that does not modify any other words in the sentence Flying over the city, the skyscraper could clearly be seen. What or who could be clearly seen here? 22. Move the dangling phrase after the word it modifies. Error: Hanging on a nail in his closet, he found his tie. Correction: He found his tie hanging on a nail in the closet. 23. Reword the independent clause, often by adding a missing word. Error: When one month old, my grandmother died. When I was one month old, my grandmother died. 24. Self-Editing 25. Read your paper aloud, slowly. Youll hear mistakes you wouldnt noticed by reading silenly. Make corrections, then reread it aloud again later to see if you need to make more corrections Make a list of everything you need in your paper. Use it to check your paper to make sure youve included everything. 26. Read for clarity. Your reader doesnt know what you meant to write, only what youve written. Make sure youve written everything your audience needs to understand what youre trying to convey. Read paragraph by paragraph and sentence by sentence. Ask yourself, Could I say this with fewer words? If yes, then do so. 27. Your computer cant think for you. Spell checks, homonyms, and grammar check Use resources as a guide, not as an answer. Online dictionaries and thesauruses Wikipedia is questionable at best Be wary of any service that wants to do your thinking for you. Citation guides vs. automatic citation machines 28. APA and MLA citation guides Tips on academic and business writing Grammar, mechanics, and punctuation