Editing and Proofreading Strategies
Start with Sentences
Ask yourself these kinds of questions as you look carefully at sentences:
- Do I need to change sentence punctuation? Because readers find these errors so distracting, writers should edit separately for sentence punctuation if they have any problem at all in using periods, semicolons, and commas with coordinating conjunctions correctly.
- Do I need to combine sentences for clarity, precision, variation? To answer this question, most students go through the paper concentrating on one sentence at a time or on two adjacent sentences. If they see wordy repetition, they combine sentences to reduce repeated words and phrases. If they see sentences repeatedly beginning with the subject, they reorder sentence parts. If they see a phrase that doesn't fit or make sense where it is, they rearrange or rewrite. Reading the paper aloud often helps writers catch those sentences that need work.
- Do I see any wordy, cliched, or empty sentences I should rewrite?