Journalism 101: Editing Checklist and 5 Proofreading Tips

  1. Does my punctuation follow conventional usage?
  2. Should I check the spelling of any of my words?
  3. Does every verb agree with its subject, especially in sentences where subjects and verbs are widely separated?
  4. Are the tenses of my verbs consistent with the way I want to use them?
  5. Does every pronoun (particularly it, this, they, he, she) clearly refer to a noun or another pronoun?
  6. Does every modifier have an obvious connection to the word I want to modify?
  7. When I have used coordinating conjunctions(and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet), are the sentence parts they connect equivalent in grammar and in meaning?
  8. Do I use capitals, abbreviations, numbers and underlines according to conventional usage?
  9. Do I have unnecessary wordy constructions, such as those that begin there are or those that have a verb plus a noun, or a verb plus an adjective, when a verb will do (“they took notice of” instead of “they noticed” and “they are desirious of” instead of “they want”).
  10. Do I have any clichés, overworked figures of speech such as “rat race” and “to top it off”?
Proofreading tips
1. Look at every word and punctuation mark.
2. Resist the temptation to overlook the first and last words on a line.
3. Read aloud; doing so slows your reading.
4. Point at each word as you read.
5. Read backward from the end of the essay.
 

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