5 Most Common Mistakes Students Make While Proofreading

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

It is natural for students to make mistakes or errors while writing any kind of research article, blog, and assignment. Generally, both terms ‘mistakes’ and ‘errors’ are used in the same sense, and few people can distinguish between these two interconvertible terms. But these terms are not synonymous; the term 'mistake' refers to the 'slip of pen' in case of written communication and ‘slips of tongue' in case of verbal communication. On the other hand, 'error' refers to the logical errors that occur due to a lack of understanding of a language. The mistakes are often recognizable by the writers, but the errors are random and often occur regularly. Many studies show that the mistakes and errors in manuscripts drafted by students are a global phenomenon. As concluded by many researchers, the most common errors or mistakes often attempted by students include homophones, inconsistency, apostrophe problems, poor syntax, and Double or missing words. The understanding of each of these common errors may help writers and proofreaders to produce an error-free draft.

Brief Description Of Five Most Common Students Mistakes While Proofreading Includes: 

Homophones

Proofreading
Homophones are words having similar sounds with different meanings. The cheap dissertation help company says that the most common mistake students often make while proofreading a document is that they avoid homophones. The identification of these errors is tricky because such words are very similar, and the students can neglect them when in a hurry. Unfortunately, these words are too similar that even the online spelling correction tools fail to identify them. The best way to ignore such errors is to train students about the concept of Homophones so that they can avoid such errors by themselves.

 Table 1: Examples of homophones includes

Affect and effect

Hear and here

You’re and your

Sight/site

Peace and piece

By and buy

Its and it’s

New and knew

Hole and whole

Steal and steel

Right and write

Break and brake

Inconsistency

In most academic writing scripts, students fail to identify the inconsistency issues. The inconsistency and irrelevancy often irritate the reader and decrease the success of the article. Inconsistency refers to the bombardment of data without establishing any logical flow between them. Just data, data, and data without proper structuring and systematic organization may result in article rejection. In a single document, inconsistency is of many types, such as headings, phrases in capitals, Numbers in sentences, Hyphenated phrases, List/bullet punctuation, Spelling, Hyphenation of compound modifiers, and Capitalization in tables, lists, and figures. Unfortunately, most of the students lack conceptual understanding of what the term "consistency error" means? When students are asked to proofread a document to locate errors, they pick up spelling or typing errors. Hence, about data submitted after such proofreading practices by students contain consistent mistakes. A practice of describing different errors to students before assigning proofreading tasks can help students avoid these frequent mistakes. In addition, a proofreading step specially targeted to follow parallel structure throughout the length of the document can minimize the incidences of consistency errors.

Table 2: Examples of Common Inconsistencies

American and British English 

Dates 

Numbers

Compound words

Symbols 

Layout 

Campaign

Abbreviation’s

Double and single quote marks

Headings 

 

Apostrophe Problems

The purpose of apostrophizing is to show the possession or ownership and contractions (missing letters). Apostrophes mistake occur when a writer forgets to add a comma to show possession or contraction. These practices change the sense of the sentence and cause understanding problems. To show possession, the comma must be placed between the noun or pronoun and 's', in case of absence or wrong placement of comma misunderstanding may result. The proofreading step aimed to check only apostrophe problems in text can manage such errors.

Table 3: Common Apostrophe problems:

RIGHT

WRONG

Adult’s clothes are usually cheaper than the children’s clothes.

Adults clothes are usually cheaper than the children clothes.

I am selling my used jewellery.

I am selling my used jewelleries.

We are visiting the Hina and Huma’s house

We are visiting the Hina’s and Huma’s house

This is my brother in law’s car

This is my brother’s in law’s car.

 

Poor Syntax

Proofreading 1
The syntax is the art of organizing phrases and words to create a well-structured sentence. Missing keywords is one of the most frequently seen mistakes that cause poor syntax in a draft proofread by most students. Sometimes syntax mistakes occur by the incorporation of the right keyword in the wrong place. The reason behind the fact that students avoid syntax errors while proofreading is that a poorly structured sentence may still have the proper sense that makes it unidentified by the student. Sentences with syntax errors have high readability, but the purpose of removing such mistakes is to enhance the reader's involvement to go ahead. The practice reading the text in a backward way loudly can help to eliminate such kind of errors.

Table 4: Some common examples of Syntax errors 

Poor

Strong

Sara presented cookies to her father on tissue paper

Sara presented cookies on tissue paper to her father

After finishing my presentation the competitor seemed ambitious to talk.

After I had finished my presentation, the competitor seemed ambitious to talk.

 

Double Or Missing Words

The repetition and missing of articles such as ‘a’ and ‘the’ is a common mistake reported in many articles. The students mostly have superficial knowledge about the correct placement of verbs, articles, and adjectives. While working on quick writing practices, an assignment help to students forget to pay attention to the correct placement of articles, and the same happens during proofreading. Lack of logistic support and poor education system is responsible for most of the missing or Double words mistakes.

Table 5: Common repetition and missing mistakes

Frequent use of ‘the’ and ‘a’

 

The sentence containing too much 'and '

Missing of linking words

Repetition of a single idea in multiple sentences

Missing of inter-paragraph linking phrases

Repetition of nouns at the start as well as the end of the sentence.

 Final Thoughts

Mostly, proofreading mistakes occur owing to students' lack of interest, carelessness, and mind saturation problems. Few of them result from a lack of effective English Grammar teaching methods and the potential to identify frequent errors. Proper knowledge of potential errors that should be eradicated from a document before assigning proofreading tasks to students can effectively reduce such mistakes and raise the standards of academic writing.

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