PROOF READING

Introduction

It is difficult to identify errors in your own written work, but a careful rereading of each section of your FYP will almost certainly reveal them. It can be useful to do this out loud, as you may 'hear' mistakes you don't see. Asking a friend to proof read your project is also a good idea; they may notice things you do not. You could proof read their project in exchange.


This website gives more information on proof reading.
http://www.uefap.co.uk/accuracy/pruffram.htm
(accessed 7 February 2003)


Common errors

Here are some common errors found in FYPs. Watch out for them when you are proof reading.

1. Run-on Sentences and Sentence Fragments

Check each sentence to make sure it has a subject and a verb and that it expresses a complete concept.

Do not run two sentences together incorrectly. Use punctuation (full stops, colons or semicolons) or linking words to separate them or clarify meaning.


This website gives more information about run on sentences.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_sentpr.html
(accessed 7 February 2003)

2. Punctuation

Use capital letters at the start of sentences and for names of persons, cities, countries, languages, streets, and titles.

End every sentence with a full stop or question mark .

Use punctuation (commas, colons, semi-colons) within individual sentences to separate phrases and for easier understanding.

Place exact quotes in quotation marks. Full stops and commas go inside the quotation marks.

Use apostrophes correctly to indicate possession.

This website gives more information on the general use of punctuation.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/index.html#Punctuation.
(accessed 7 February 2003)

This website gives more information on the use of commas.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_commaproof.html
(accessed 7 February 2003)

This website gives more information on the use of apostrophes.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_apost.html
(accessed 7 February 2003)


3. Subject-Verb Agreement

Check every subject and verb to make sure that if you have used a singular subject, you have also used a singular verb. Similarly, a plural subject needs a plural verb. Pay extra care to add an 's' to present simple tense verbs in the 3rd person singular.

e.g. My supervisor gives helpful advice.

For more information, go to this FYP website page on subject-verb agreement

This website also gives more information on subject-verb agreement.
http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/sv_agr.htm
(accessed 7 February 2003)


4. Sentence Length

Keep sentences reasonably short. General guidelines for writing FYPs recommend a maximum of 25 words per sentence.

Break consistently long sentences into shorter units.
If too short, perhaps you could link them using a conjunction or other transitional device, but do not overdo this (e.g. by starting nearly every sentence with a linking word.)

Ensure that each sentence follows clearly and logically from the one before it. Note that it is not necessary to keep all sentences the same length; a variety of length of sentences in each paragraph makes for a more interesting writing style.

This website gives more information on sentence length.
http://www.askoxford.com/betterwriting/plainenglish/sentencelength/
(accessed 7 February 2003)


5. Verb Tenses

Use the correct tense to express what you want to say and try to keep tenses consistent.

These websites give more information on verb tense usage.

https://elc.polyu.edu.hk/gpack/Grammar/ModuleC/rules/ruleE.htm
(accessed 7 February 2003)

http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/verbs.htm#tense
(accessed 7 February 2003)

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_tensec.html
(accessed 7 February 2003)

http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/consistency.htm
(accessed 7 February 2003)

6. Spelling

Look up the spelling of any word you are unsure about. Be especially careful of the "ei" and "ie" words, words which add "-ing" and "ed," and words with one or more sets of double letters.

Online dictionaries can be found at
Encarta World English Dictionary
(accessed 7 February 2003)

http://www.wordsmyth.net/
(accessed 7 February 2003)


7. Paragraphing

Make sure each paragraph has a topic sentence which states the main idea.
Add examples and specific details to describe your topic more vividly.

Make sure that paragraphs contain one clear idea, example, discussion, opinion or argument.
If you change the subject, start a new paragraph.
Show the link between paragraphs by using transitional sentences.
Limit paragraph length to a maximum of 100 words.

This website gives more information on paragraph writing.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_pgrph2.html
(accessed 7 February 2003)

This website gives information on paragraph length consistency.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_pgrph.html
(accessed 7 February 2003)

Click here for three short interactive proof reading exercises.