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Finding Common Errors

Summary:

Proofreading is primarily about searching your writing for errors, both grammatical and typographical, before submitting your paper for an audience (a teacher, a publisher, etc.). Use this resource to help you find and fix common errors.

Contributors:Jaclyn M. Wells, Morgan Sousa, and Mia Martini, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2010-10-05 11:26:38

Proofreading can be much easier when you know what you are looking for. Although everyone will have different error patterns, the following are issues that come up for many writers. When proofreading your paper, be on the lookout for these errors. Always remember to make note of what errors you make frequently—this will help you proofread more efficiently in the future!

Spelling

Left-out and doubled words

Reading the paper aloud (and slowly) can help you make sure you haven't missed or repeated any words.

Fragment Sentences

Run-on Sentences

Example run-on: I have to write a research paper for my class about extreme sports all I know about the subject is that I'm interested in it.
Edited version: I have to write a research paper for my class about extreme sports, and all I know about the subject is that I'm interested in it.
Another option: I have to write a research paper for my class about extreme sports. All I know about the subject is that I'm interested in it.

Comma Splices

Example: I would like to write my paper about basketball, it's a topic I can talk about at length.
Edited version: I would like to write my paper about basketball because it's a topic I can talk about at length.
Edited version, using a semicolon: I would like to write my paper about basketball; it's a topic I can talk about at length.

Subject/Verb Agreement

Example: Students at the university level usually is very busy.
Edited version: Students at the university level usually are very busy.

Mixed construction

Read through your sentences carefully to make sure that they do not start with one sentence structure and shift to another. A sentence that does this is called a mixed construction.

Example: Since I have a lot of work to do is why I can't go out tonight.
Edited version: Since I have a lot of work to do, I can't go out tonight.

Parallelism

Look through your paper for series of items and make sure these items are in parallel form.

Example: Being a good friend involves good listening skills, to be considerate, and that you know how to have fun.
Edited version: Being a good friend involves knowing how to listen, being considerate, and having fun.

Pronoun Reference/Agreement

Apostrophes

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