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Editing Tips

  1. Create a personalized checklist of your own common grammar and punctuation errors.

  2. Run a blank sheet line-by-line down each page of your essay as you read.

  3. Circle all suspected spelling errors first and only then look them up.

  4. Read aloud to yourself or to a friend in order to hear the errors, or read into a tape.

  5. List at the top of your paper the three most frequent errors you make, and then read the paper through three times, each time focusing on one of the three errors.

  6. Read your paper backwards sentence by sentence, starting with the final sentence, in order to break up the flow and avoid filling in gaps, missing words, or typos as you read.

  7. Have a knowledgeable friend read over your paper for specific sorts of errors (such as those you listed under number one above).

  8. Highlight or underline "be" verbs (i.e. am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been, etc.) to check for use of passive voice, shifts in verb tense, or overuse of the verb "to be."

  9. Underline repeated word choices or patterns and revise to create more effective wordings.
-- Adapted from Lois Matz Rosen's
"Developing Correctness in Student Writing:
Alternatives to the Error Hunt"
English Journal 76.3: 62-69.
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