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Proofreading, Sentence Structure, & Self-Editing Created by Zachary Davis & Felicia Dieguez Updated by Kristina Davison The Writing Center at Purdue University Calumet presents

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.

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Page 1: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Proofreading, Sentence Structure, & Self-Editing

Created by Zachary Davis & Felicia DieguezUpdated by Kristina Davison

The Writing Center atPurdue University Calumet presents

Page 2: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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

Writing vs. Speaking

Page 3: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Proper Use of Commas

Page 4: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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 aren’t necessary

◦ Ex: Mrs. Jones, our English teacher, gave a test today.

Proper Use of Commas

Page 5: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Sentence Fragments

Run-on Sentences

Misplaced Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers

Common Sentence Structure Errors

Page 6: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Sentence Fragments

Page 7: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Sentence Fragments

Page 8: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Sentence Fragments vs. Complete Sentences

Page 9: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Correcting Sentence Fragments

Page 10: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Correcting Sentence Fragments

Page 11: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Noticing Sentence Fragments

Page 12: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Run-on Sentences

Page 13: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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 doesn’t 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.

Run-on Sentences

Page 14: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Comma Splices

Page 15: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Correcting Run-on Sentences

Page 16: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Misplaced Modifiers

Page 17: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Misplaced Modifiers

Page 18: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Correcting Misplaced Modifiers

Page 19: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Correcting Misplaced Modifiers

Page 20: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Correcting Misplaced Modifiers

Page 21: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Dangling Modifiers

Page 22: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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?

Dangling Modifiers

Page 23: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Correcting Dangling Modifiers

Page 24: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

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.

Correcting Dangling Modifiers

Page 25: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Self-Editing

Page 26: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Read your paper aloud, slowly.

◦ You’ll hear mistakes you wouldn’t 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 you’ve included

everything.

Self-Editing

Page 27: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Read for clarity.

◦ Your reader doesn’t know what you meant to write, only

what you’ve written.

◦ Make sure you’ve written everything your audience

needs to understand what you’re 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.

Self-Editing

Page 28: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

Your computer can’t 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

Brain vs. Machine

Page 29: Proofreading, Sentence structure, & Self Editing

owl.english.purdue.edu

◦ APA and MLA citation guides

◦ Tips on academic and business writing

◦ Grammar, mechanics, and punctuation

http://webs.purduecal.edu/library/

http://dictionary.reference.com/

http://thesaurus.reference.com/

Resources on the Internet