On Proofreading

2014-08-22 18-59-11_Dokument1 - Microsoft WordWhen I posted yesterday’s blog entry I was ashamed to see how many typos and other mistakes I had overlooked. While I intend to keep this blog personal and informal, it should still be free of blatant errors. I’m not sending each entry to my friend and proofreader for a grammar check, she certainly has better things to do. For things I want to publish on archives, in challenges, or for work, however, I gladly ask her advice and am very fortunate that she is helping me. You know who you are. πŸ™‚

While there may be non-native English writers whose English is next to perfect, I am not one of them. So I often rely on online proofreaders.

One of these online proofreaders is Paper Rater. It’s free, but there is also an advanced version for sale. I learned about it during one of the MOOCs I took earlier this year: English Composition I. You can copy and paste your text into a text field, have it checked for possible plagiarism, and chose the education level and type of paper. Then red and green markers will show grammatical and spelling mistakes. Blue markers will make suggestions for word choice. When you click through the report area, topics like Bad Phrase score will show up. I constantly get an “ouch” there. It is very depressing. My Transitional Word Score is almost always good, Vocabulary Score usually gets another “ouch” – my vocabulary is not sophisticated enough, apparently. The grading always gave me a C until I started to put in “other” for education level. At least now I don’t get so discouraged any longer. πŸ˜‰ But nevertheless, I think Paper Rater is a very useful tool, and no, I don’t get paid for this post. πŸ™‚ When, like me, you get and “ouch”, they usually suggest help from their site.

Vocabulary Builder: Defines words and shows them used in context. I find this useful.

Confused Words: This page offers a useful quiz to learn about commonly confused words and how and when to use each variation.

Blog entries for:
Writer’s Block: A list of helpful tips. I find that the best way to overcome writer’s block is: writing, writing, writing — even if you have to delete all of it later.

Outlines: This is a more personal report on how the author uses outlines. I can’t do without them, I always outline as thoroughly as I can, even if the end product is completely different. For me this is a life-line for writing any text.

Writing a Strong Essay: For most of you this may be old news, but for me it is pure horror. I wrote many very short essays for the MOOC Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World. I had a very hard time with it and never scored full points for form although sometimes I scored full points for content. I need to practise this.

General Grammar Tips: More good advice.

I hope you find these pages as useful as I do. I’m not affiliated with Paper Rater, or any other site. I’m regularly posting tips like that for the benefit of my peers in our fb and g+ writing groups.


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