Today's lessen is all about editing, witch we hear at Shmoop no all about. We're total prose.
|5th Grade||Language Arts|
|Elementary and Middle School||5th Grade|
There are two main problem areas to focus on:
spelling, and punctuation and capitalization.
And nobody’s perfect, so don’t give us that “I have no problem areas” look. [Guy wearing a sign full of errors]
Your first step is to fix any spelling errors. [Dino pointing at a blackboard]
And, yes, go ahead and use spell check on your computer.
It’s not cheating.
Spell check can root out any pure nonsense, like misspellings of "farm" as "fram," or [Guy at his computer looks confused]
"cat" as "carfoofullnurget."
…We don't even want to know how you got that from "cat."
But spell-check isn’t enough.
Oftentimes, a word won't be misspelled as pure nonsense, but just as a different word
that isn't correct in context.
Take the following sentence: "Come on over," my teacher told me, holding my paper in his hands.
"It's time for us to have a little cat about paraphrasing vs. plagiarism."
Every word is spelled correctly, so spell-check would think it's A-OK, but look closer. [Guy looks pleased as spell check is clear]
Sure, the teacher might be thinking about adopting a kitten, but in this context, what [Teacher with a kitten on his head]
he meant to say was probably that he wanted to have a chat.
To find errors like this, your best bet is to read your text aloud.
When you're saying words with your mouth rather than just skimming them with your eyes, errors [Guy notices the error whilst reading aloud]
are much easier to find and correct.
And bonus: you get to treat your whole household to a verbal reading of your masterpiece.
With spelling out of the way, you can move on to checking punctuation and capitalization. [Coop pointing at a blackboard]
That means not only making sure that each sentence starts with a capital letter and
ends with a punctuation mark, but also making sure that all your dialogue is punctuated
The rules for punctuating dialogue in particular can be a bit of a hornet's nest, but don't [Guy stood next to an actual hornet's nest]
You can always check to make sure that you're punctuating correctly. [The hornets surround the boy and he runs away]
It's not a race, and when it comes to editing, it's always better to be thorough than fast. [The boy runs past a girl sat at her desk and the hornets surround her]
Pro tip: don't forget to keep a copy of “Punctuating Dialogue for Dummies” under your pillow. [The book squishes the hornets]
You never know when it’ll come in handy.
If you can get a handle on spelling, punctuation, and capitalization and manage to root out
all of those little errors, then congratulations! [Boy holds up his finished work]
Your work is error-free and your pillow is slightly less comfortable.
…Sorry about that. [Boy looks sad]