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Proofreading

Click on the highlighted text to see the comments.

Technicalities

  • Format of headings and subheadings checked?
  • Numbers, symbols, and abbreviations correct and consistent?
  • Italicising/bolding consistent?
  • Capitalisation correct and consistent?
  • Punctuation consistent? (e.g. double/single inverted commas)
  • Citations cross-checked with Reference List?

Have you spelt the same word in the same (correct) way throughout?

For example:

focussed, operationalise, honour   vs.   focused, operationalize, honor

Use the spellcheck on your word processor, but be warned: it will not find everything, and it will usually recommend Improve your spelling American spelling.

Do subjects and their verbs agree in number?

This is important particularly when a long or complex subject precedes the main verb.

Pick the error:

The proteolytic activity of extracts of X from these organs were expected to reach a high level.

Are participles attached to their subjects?

Studying these examples, the conclusions were clear.

The solution is to substitute an active or passive verb.

When we studied these examples... OR When these examples were studied...

Do pronouns refer clearly to an antecedent?

In older strata the effect is different and may be found throughout the layers, but not in X. This is not a boundary, however, between two types of layer.

Is it clear what "This" refers to?

Have you included any meaningless phrases?

In this connection, we may say that ...

Studies some years ago by Phipps and Green (1981) is not as clear as

the investigation by Phipps and Green (1989) which showed ...

Check for sentence fragments

For example sentences lacking a complete verb

For example, the increase in the cost of manufacturing.

If your first language is not English, you may need to pay special attention to the following

Articles (a/an/the/zero article)

Remember that, for titles, the article is often omitted for the sake of brevity.

Delete or add articles where you think appropriate in the following titles and headings and write the corrected titles in the text fields below:

1. The Temperature Dependence of the Heats of Reaction.

2. The Solubility of Carbon Disulfide with the Methyl Alcohol.

3. Angular Distribution of the Orbitals.

4. The Effect of Inner Shells on Single Outer Electron

Drag word: a

Countable/uncountable nouns

Normally, uncountable nouns cannot be pluralised in English:

information, evidence, advice, knowledge, research, staff, work (but literary works), software and hardware. Note that data is plural and requires a plural verb.

Tense selection

Be consistent with tenses: Do not change tense if there is no logical reason to do so.

Parallel structures

What is the problem with this example?

The following actions were taken: advertising the product, improve quality control, and the retail price down.

Suggested improvement

Use of logical connectors

Such as however, although, thus, as a result of, on the other hand, by comparison.

Use of correct word forms

Use nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs appropriately.

Be sure you are clear about the following:

  • noun = the person, place, or thing
  • adjective = word describing the thing
  • verb = the process or action
  • adverb = word describing the process or action

Complete the following table with the missing word forms.

Noun Adjective Verb Adverb
graph
difference
in/decrease
explain --
defend --
homogeneity --
defer --

Check your answers

Subject / verb agreement

Make sure that plural nouns are always matched with plural verb forms, and vice versa.

Correct any singular/plural errors and any examples of bad subject-verb agreement in the following paragraph

Nitrifying bacteria are sensitive organism and extremely sensitive to a wide variety of inhibitor. A variety of organic and inorganic agent can inhibit the growth and action of these organisms. High concentration of ammonia and nitrous acid can be inhibitory. The effect of PH is also significant. A narrow optimal range between PH 7.5 to 8.6 exist, but system acclimated to lower PH condition have successfully nitrified. Temperature also exerts a tremendous influence on the growth of nitrifying bacteria. However, quantification of this effect has been difficult. Dissolved oxygen concentration above 1 mg/L are essential for nitrification to occur. If DO levels drop below this value, oxygen become the limiting nutrient and nitrification slows or cease.


Check your answer

The following actions were taken: the product was advertised, quality control was improved, and the retail price was reduced.
Noun Adjective Verb Adverb
graph graphic/graphical graph graphically
difference different differ differently
in/decrease in-/decreased in-/decrease in-/decreasingly
explanation explanatory explain --
defence defended defend --
homogeneity homogeneous -- homogeneously
deferall/deference deferred defer --

Subject-verb agreement

Nitrifying bacteria are sensitive organisms and extremely sensitive to a wide variety of inhibitors . A variety of organic and inorganic agents can inhibit the growth and action of these organisms. High concentration of ammonia and nitrous acid can be inhibitory. The effect of PH is also significant. A narrow optimal range between PH 7.5 to 8.6 exists, but systems acclimated to lower PH condition have successfully nitrified. Temperature also exerts a tremendous influence on the growth of nitrifying bacteria. However, quantification of this effect has been difficult. Dissolved oxygen concentration above 1 mg/L are essential for nitrification to occur. If DO levels drop below this value, oxygen becomes the limiting nutrient and nitrification slows or ceases.

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