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Blog post by Ascia Guseva

Writing can be as enjoyable as it is frustrating. Once you get the inspiration going, the words just flow onto the paper. However, one day the written piece may look perfect to you, but the following many flaws can come into view with a fresh read. Oftentimes, the required corrections can be small, such as an adjustment of tenses or replacement with synonyms, or they can be large, where entire paragraphs have to be rewritten and the subject matter rethought. As editors, we encounter many writing mishaps that are bound to happen whether you proofread the piece once, twice or even ten times. The writing process is never over.

Here is a list of most common mistakes that can be found when proofreading someone’s writing:

 

1. Improper verb forms

Verbs can sometimes be challenging to work with. It’s quite commonly an occurrence of having picked the wrong aspect and trying to maintain cohesion. A piece of good advice would be to either stay neutral with the indefinite or recheck the grammar rules for that specific aspect.

2. Run-on sentences with comma splices

Having two or more independent clauses that could easily be their own sentences joined by nothing or just a comma is a no-go. Such lengthy and confusing sentences often turn out to be run-ons. This not only makes it hard to follow the ideas the sentences convey but also makes them ungrammatical. To make them correct, they should either be separated into individual sentences or connected with a semicolon. It is also possible to introduce a conjunction and leave the comma if necessary. Double-check if your elaborate writing is clear enough for yourself and, most importantly, the reader.

Incorrect: I love to write papers, I would write one every day if I had the time.

Correct: I love to write papers. I would write one every day if I had the time.

3. Missing information

From time to time, when you read and something doesn’t make sense, it may be because parts of background content are missing. As the author, you may overlook this small detail as you are already familiar with this information. Rereading a few days later should help fix the problem.

4. Too much information

Going in the opposite direction, there can also be too many descriptions, explanations or digressions that can draw the reader’s attention away from the intended main focus. Check what is necessary and what may be redundant. 

5. The conclusions that don’t conclude

Imagine reading a story or any other piece of writing and not being able to find the end upon finishing it. It may seem as if the writing was interrupted and the conclusion simply doesn’t exist. Proofreading with a fresh mind should solve the issue. 

6. Repetitions 

In some cases, word repetitions can be stylistic, but oftentimes they can be bland and make the imagery less vivid. Browsing a thesaurus for synonyms will not only bring dimension to your descriptions but also educate you with new vocabulary. 

7. American vs. British English

It is important to stay consistent throughout your writing. An overwhelming amount of submissions include spellings of both American and British English in one piece. Fortunately, Microsoft Word and analogous applications already have a built-in feature for spell-check. Don’t hesitate to make use of it.

 

Hopefully, this short article was informative and will help improve your writing. Enjoy the process!