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WE 061 Editing

Teacher Tips and Answers


Page 61

© Thoughtful Learning 2024


Have you ever looked out a dirty windshield? It’s hard to see where you’re going. All you see are the blotches on the glass.

That’s what it’s like to read writing that has a lot of errors. You get distracted by incorrect spelling, missing punctuation, wrong words, and other “blotches” in the work. Editing can get rid of those problems so that readers see where your ideas are headed.

After revising, you need to look at each word and punctuation mark. You should check your spelling and use an editing checklist. And, of course, your classmates and teacher can help you catch errors. This chapter shows you how.

What’s Ahead

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Editing Tips

Editing can’t be done in a hurry. Instead, you need to take your time and check everything very carefully. Try to take a step-by-step approach using these tips as a guide.

Know Your Handbook 🟪 The “Proofreader's Guide” (see pages 431–489) at the back of the handbook lists all the conventions or rules for good writing. (See pages 64–65 for a guide to common errors.) Also use a dictionary, whether on your desk or online.

Edit on a Clean Copy 🟪 Start with a clean copy of your revised writing, skipping every other line. (This will make it easier to edit.) If you are using a computer, you can edit on the screen or print out a double-spaced copy to work on.

Use a Checklist 🟪 Using an editing checklist will help you focus on one type of error at a time. Without a checklist, you may try to check too many things all at once. (See page 66.)

Double-Check Your Spelling 🟪 A spell checker may not catch everything, so mark any word that you should look up in a dictionary. Then check each spelling.

Enlist an Editing Partner 🟪 Have a trusted classmate or family member check your writing, too. Other readers may find errors that you missed.

TipThe best advice for writers when they begin to edit their work is “Make every word count!” That means making sure your words are clear, specific, and correct—and changing those that aren’t.

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Making Changes

The inside back cover of Writers Express has a list of common editing and proofreading marks. The sample below shows how you can use these marks when you do your editing.

Lincoln Memorial Model

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Checking for Common Errors

Here are some common errors you should watch for when you edit.

1. Missing Comma in Compound Sentences 🟪  Be sure to place a comma before the coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet) in a compound sentence.

Editing Model 1

2. Missing Commas in a Series 🟪  Use commas to separate three or more items in a series.

Editing Model 2

3. Confusing Its and It’s 🟪  Its shows possession, and it’s is a contraction for it is.

Editing Model 3

4. Subject-Verb Agreement Errors 🟪  Make sure all of your subjects and verbs agree. A singular subject takes a singular verb, and a plural subject takes a plural verb.

Editing Model 4

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5. Missing Commas After Introductory Phrases and Clauses 🟪  Be sure to place a comma after phrases and clauses that introduce a sentence.

Editing Model 6

6. Writing Run-On Sentences 🟪 Use an end punctuation mark after a sentence, or connect two sentences with a comma and conjunction. Otherwise, your sentences will run together.

Editing Model 7

7. Using Double Subjects 🟪  A sentence is incorrect if it contains a double subject—a subject with a pronoun right after it.

Editing Model 5

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Editing and Proofreading Checklist

Use this checklist as a guide when you edit and proofread your writing.

Sentence Structure

_____ Are the sentences clear and complete?

_____ Are the sentences easy to read?


_____ Does correct punctuation end each sentence?

_____ Do commas appear before coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet) in compound sentences?

_____ Do commas punctuate a series (bears, tigers, and lions)?

_____ Is dialogue correctly punctuated? (See page 144.)


_____ Does each sentence start with a capital letter?

_____ Are the names of specific people, places, and things capitalized?

Grammar and Usage

_____ Do subjects and verbs agree in number? (See pages 79 and 467.)

_____ Is the verb tense consistent?

_____ Is usage correct (to, too, two)? (See pages 456–465.)


_____ Is spelling correct? (See pages 452–455.)

Teacher Support:

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English Language Arts:

Lesson Plan Resources:

Here you'll find a full list of resources found in this lesson plan.

Vocabulary List:
  • Proofreader's Guide: resource of the rules of English, along with examples, at the end of your handbook

Vocabulary List:
  • compound sentence: two complete sentences joined with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet)

  • subject-verb agreement: using a singular subject with a singular verb or a plural subject with a plural verb

Vocabulary List:
  • double subject: error caused when a pronoun directly follows the subject

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