A common writing mistake is not leaving enough time to revise, edit, or proofread. Another problem is to fixate on grammar errors at the expense of necessary changes to content, argument, or organization. Instead, revise strategically!
- Start with higher-order concerns (HOCs) like purpose, audience, development (including source integration), organization, and paragraph structure. In some cases, sentence structure may be a higher-order concern if lack of clarity interferes with meaning.
- Lower-order concerns (LOCs) usually include issues with sentence structure, word choice/vocabulary, and grammatical correctness.
- Finally, don't forget to proofread for punctuation, spelling, and mechanics--including correct citation format.
The City College of New York provides a fuller explanation of HOCs and LOCs, including some examples.
The following resources are chosen to help you edit and proofread your own work more effectively and with greater confidence.
- Guide to Grammar & Writing – with self-scoring quizzes -- Capital Community College (try not to laugh at the web design!)
- Quick & Dirty Tips: Grammar – explanations and podcasts by GrammarGirl
- The Write Site – Modules on grammar, using sources, structure
- Grammar Camp – a series of posts on the SLC's In Common blog
- 6-Part video series on How to Use Commas (from York University's Writing Department)
- Douglas College "Sentence Structure and Punctuation" resources
“Self-help” editing tools
- Writer’s Handbook - Grammar and Punctuation – University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Top 10 Editing Tips - a handy checklist with resources
- Common Errors in English – an extensive alphabetical list of commonly confused or misused words -- Washington State University
- Checking Articles, Nouns, and Verbs - see "grammar" section
- Collocations -- word-combinations that go together
For EAL writers
See English as an additional language (EAL) resources: Help & support for English language learners.