susan smith nash, ph.d.

Technical English

Online Course

Editing, Part II

More Editing and Proofreading Strategies for Revision
For parallel structure:
1. Skim your paper, stopping at key words that signal parallel structures. Look especially for the following: and, or, not only...but also, either... or, neither...nor, both...and.
2. Make sure that the items connected by these words (adjectives, nouns, phrases, etc.) are in the same grammatical form.
For spelling:
1. Examine each word in the paper individually. Move from the end of each line back to the beginning. Pointing with a pencil helps you really see each word.
2. If necessary, check a dictionary to see that each word is spelled correctly.
For compound sentence commas:
1. Skim for conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, so and yet.
2. See whether there is a complete sentence on each side of the conjunction. If so, place a comma before the conjunction.
For introductory commas:
1. Skim your paper, looking only at the first two or three words of each sentence.
2. Stop if one of these words is a dependent marker, a transition word, a participle, or a preposition.
3. Listen for a possible break point before the main clause.
4. Place a comma at the end of the introductory phrase or clause (which is before the independent clause).
For comma splices:
1. Skim the paper, stopping at every comma.
2. See whether there is a complete sentence on each side of the comma. If so, add a coordinating conjunction after the comma or replace the comma with a semicolon.
For fragments:
1. Look at each sentence to see whether it contains an independent clause.
2. Pay special attention to sentences that begin with dependent marker words (such as "because") or phrases such as "for example" or "such as."
3. See if the sentence might be just a piece of the previous sentence that mistakenly got separated by a period.

For run-on sentences:

1. Review each sentence to see whether it contains more than one independent clause. Start with the last sentence of your paper, and work your way back to the beginning, sentence by sentence.
2. Break the sentence into two sentences if necessary.
For left-out words:
1. Read the paper aloud, pointing to every word as you read. Don't let your eye move ahead until you spot each word.
2. Also, make sure you haven't doubled any words.
Editing Practice Exercises

Technical English Menu

Home Page & Overview
Required Work
Audience Analysis
Writing for a Variety of Audiences
Planning your Task
Editing, Part II
Technical Report
Technical Report, Part II
Progress Report, Choice I
Progress Report, Choice 2
Progress Report, Choice 3
Progress Report, Choice 4
Other Resources