And the Errors on Last Post’s Proofreading-Practice Text Were . . .

Here is the text in question for your convenience:

“Even among philosophers, we may say, broadly, that only those universals which are named by adjectives or substantives have been much or often recognized, while those named by verbs and prepositions have been usually over looked. This omission has had a very great effect upon philosophy; it is hardly to much to say that most metaphysics, since Spinoza, has been largely determined by it. The way this has occurred is, in outline, as follows: Speaking generally, adjectives and common nouns express qualities or properties of single things, whereas prepositions and verbs tend to express relations between two or more things. Thus the neglect of prepositions and verbs led to the believe that every proposition can be regarded as attributing a property to a single thing, rather than as expressing a relation between two or more things. Hence it was supposed that, ultimately, there can be no such entities as relations between things. Hence either there can be only one thing in the universe, or, if there are many things, they cannot possibly interact in any way, since any interaction would be a relation, and relations are impossible.

The first of these views, advocated by Spinozer and held in our own day by Bradley and many other philosophers, is called monism; the second, advocated by Leibniz but not very common nowadays, is called monadism, because each of the isolated things is called a monad. Both these opposing philosophies, interesting as they are, result, in my opinion, from an undue attention to one sort of universals, namely the sort represented by adjectives and substantives rather than by verbs and prepositions.” [Source: “Free Weekly Proofreading Exercise” at www.proofreading-course.com]

The Errors (underlined in the text, and yes, these are of minor nature but too often, our text gets convoluted because of them):
  1. “over looked” is misspelled in the original text, with “overlooked” being its correct form
  2. “to” should read as “too” in this context (this error is one that keeps creeping up on us way too often, and as such a culprit, it cannot be emphasized strongly enough as far as red alerts)
  3. “believe” is a misplaced word here, for we need its noun form, “belief”
  4. “Spinozer” is the misspelling of the actual name, “Spinoza”

Next week: More opportunities to practice proofreading

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A New Text as a Proofreading Practice

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Another sample text-based worksheet comes in for you, dear reader, to practice self-editing, which starts with a most vital step: Proofreading [Source: “Free Weekly Proofreading Exercise” at www.proofreading-course.com].

“Even among philosophers, we may say, broadly, that only those universals which are named by adjectives or substantives have been much or often recognized, while those named by verbs and prepositions have been usually over looked. This omission has had a very great effect upon philosophy; it is hardly to much to say that most metaphysics, since Spinoza, has been largely determined by it. The way this has occurred is, in outline, as follows: Speaking generally, adjectives and common nouns express qualities or properties of single things, whereas prepositions and verbs tend to express relations between two or more things. Thus the neglect of prepositions and verbs led to the believe that every proposition can be regarded as attributing a property to a single thing, rather than as expressing a relation between two or more things. Hence it was supposed that, ultimately, there can be no such entities as relations between things. Hence either there can be only one thing in the universe, or, if there are many things, they cannot possibly interact in any way, since any interaction would be a relation, and relations are impossible.

The first of these views, advocated by Spinozer and held in our own day by Bradley and many other philosophers, is called monism; the second, advocated by Leibniz but not very common nowadays, is called monadism, because each of the isolated things is called a monad. Both these opposing philosophies, interesting as they are, result, in my opinion, from an undue attention to one sort of universals, namely the sort represented by adjectives and substantives rather than by verbs and prepositions.”

Next week: The corrections (Please note: No error has been hinted at, which means that you, dear reader, have a clean slate to work on. Enjoy!)

 

And the Errors on Last Post’s Proofreading-Practice Text Were . . .

Here is the text in question for your convenient reading:
“[ . . . ] we see is constantly changing in shape as we move about the room; so that here again the senses seem not to give us the truth about the table itself, but only about the appearance of the table.
     Similar difficulties arise when we consider the sense of touch. It is true that the the table always gives us a sensation of hardness, and we feel that it resists pressure. But the sensation we obtain depends upon how hard we press the table and also upon what part of the body we press with; thus the various sensations due to various pressures or various parts of the body cannot be supposed to reveal directly any definite property of the table, but at most to be signs of some property which perhaps causes all the sensations, but is not actually apparent in any of them. And the same applies still more obviously to the sounds which can be elicted by rapping the table.
     Thus it becomes evident that the real table, if there is one, is not the same as what we immediately experience by sight or touch or hearing. The real table, if there is one, is not
immediately known to us at all, but must be an inference from what is immediately known. Hence, two very difficult questions at once arise; namely, (1) Is there a real table at all? 2) If so, what sort of object can it be? It will help us in considering these questions to have a few simple terms of which the meaning is definite and clear. Let us give the name of ‘sense-data’ to the things that are immediately known in sensation: such things as colours, sounds, smells, hardnesses, roughnesses, and so on. We shall give the name ‘sensation’ to the experience of being immediately aware of these things.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Errors (underlined in the text):
  1. The word “the” is repeated in the same sentence twice in a row (lines 4 and 5)
  2. The 2nd verb is misspelled ~ “elicited” is its correct version (1st full paragraph, last line)
  3. Question options (1) and (2) are incorporated into the text, out of which either one would be correct. In other words, there is inconsistency in this formulation (3rd full paragraph, lines 4 and 5)
  4. The line that starts with “It will help us [. . .]” should appear in a new paragraph; hence, there is an error in “transitioning” (2nd full paragraph, line 5)
  5. The U.S. spelling of the word “color” appears in the text in its U.K. & Australian English version, “colours” (3rd full paragraph, line 9)
  6. While this matter does not constitute an error (hence, not underlined as one), the phrases, “hardnesses” and “rougnesses” seem unnatural in U.S. English (2nd full paragraph, 2nd to last line). Whenever there is an alternative phrasing, such word use is best to avoid – unless, we are talking about “poetic license”.

Next week: More opportunities to practice proofreading

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A Text for a Proofreading-Practice

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[Free online image]

A sample text-based worksheet for self-editing practices . . . was last week’s forecast. So, here comes an opportunity to practice proofreading [Source: “Free Weekly Proofreading Exercise” at www.proofreading-course.com]:

“[ . . . ] we see is constantly changing in shape as we move about the room; so that here again the senses seem not to give us the truth about the table itself, but only about the appearance of the table.
     Similar difficulties arise when we consider the sense of touch. It is true that the the table always gives us a sensation of hardness, and we feel that it resists pressure. But the sensation we obtain depends upon how hard we press the table and also upon what part of the body we press with; thus the various sensations due to various pressures or various parts of the body cannot be supposed to reveal directly any definite property of the table, but at most to be signs of some property which perhaps causes all the sensations, but is not actually apparent in any of them. And the same applies still more obviously to the sounds which can be elicted by rapping the table.
     Thus it becomes evident that the real table, if there is one, is not the same as what we immediately experience by sight or touch or hearing. The real table, if there is one, is not
immediately known to us at all, but must be an inference from what is immediately known. Hence, two very difficult questions at once arise; namely, (1) Is there a real table at all? 2) If so, what sort of object can it be? It will help us in considering these questions to have a few simple terms of which the meaning is definite and clear. Let us give the name of ‘sense-data’ to the things that are immediately known in sensation: such things as colours, sounds, smells, hardnesses, roughnesses, and so on. We shall give the name ‘sensation’ to the experience of being immediately aware of these things.”
Next week: The corrections

Self-Help: Grammar-Check, III

Last week, the focus was on Verb-Subject-Agreement, with an announcement of this week’s focal point: Direct Objects and Prepositional Objects. As before, the intent here is to briefly review these grammatical elements of language.

Direct Objects

The first point to note in this context is the fact that not every sentence appears with a direct object in it. What to be aware of, however, when one does . . . Not much. Identify the subject and the verb of a sentence; if the subject performs an action on an object (a person or a thing), then you have found the direct object:

  • My family takes a trip to the same seaside town every summer.
    • My family = Subject; to take = Verb (in its base form in the sample sentence)

On which word does “family” perform the action of ‘taking’? Your answer here takes you to the Direct Object = “a trip”

PLEASE NOTE: The key concept here is that a verb MUST perform an action in order for a sentence to have a Direct Object. If a verb only indicates a “link”, then there cannot be a Direct Object in that sentence, for example, as in, “My family was always pleased with the accommodations.”

Prepositional Objects

The sample sentence immediately above, the one with a ‘linking’ verb, has no direct object (because it does not indicate an action). It has, however, a prepositional object:

  • My family was always pleased with the accommodations.

The noun “accommodations” is the object of the preposition “with”; hence, the full underlined phrase makes up the prepositional object of the sentence.

The first sample sentence, too, has a prepositional object:

  • My family takes a trip to the same seaside town every summer.

The noun “town” is the object of the preposition “to”; hence, “to town” makes up the prepositional object of the sentence. The words “same” (an adverb) and “seaside” (an adjective), different grammatical elements, function here as modifiers of the prepositional object.

Next Post: A sample text-based worksheet for self-editing practices

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Self-Help: Grammar-Check, II

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As promised, continuing from last week, we arrive at the announced stop today: Verb-Subject-Agreement. Without getting into a detailed discussion on the matter of different tenses of a verb, which also poses an obstacle to our writing endeavors, I aim to highlight only the basic aspects of the focal language element.

The most slippery road in this regard appears before us in the shape of the sentence part known as the “noun”. To conjugate a verb that articulates the action of a singular noun as opposed to the conjugation of one performing the same task for a collective noun is the key here. In speaking, we more often than not resort to a blurred application when the harmony between the verb and the subject is concerned. When the same innocent glitch takes place in a *written text, however (*written as opposed to an audio-narrative), we, as writers, lose our learned audience. For our sentence-construct then lacks clarity loud and clear.

  • Let us consider the noun, “family”. We all know that a family is made of more than one person. Hence, the fact that this word is a “collective noun”, which automatically designates for it a verb conjugated in the singular form:
    • My family takes a trip to the same seaside town every summer.
  • Whether we use the same verb in its progressive present or present perfect tense form, the same rule applies:
    • My family is taking a trip to the same seaside town this summer. / My family has taken a trip to the same seaside town this summer.

Note only “has” in the second sentence above, i.e. the helping verb, a.k.a. the “auxiliary verb”, for “taken” is a past participle form, and as such, does not / cannot signify singularity or plurality. Nor do / can the same verb’s simple past, past perfect and future tense forms help us in determining whether or not we have a singular or a collective noun in our hands (My family had taken a trip to the same seaside town when I was ten. / My family will take a trip to the same seaside town this summer.]

  • Then, we have compound subjects, for which we have to conjugate our verbs in their plural forms:
    • My brother’s family and mine go on the same trip every summer. Or:
      My brother’s family and mine get along very well. Or:
      My brother’s wife and mine have the same Yoga instructor.
  • However, as soon as we designate a singular noun to a verb, the verb must also appear in its singular form:
    • Lately, my brother or his wife goes on the same trip with me alone.
      My brother’s wife no longer gets along with mine.
      My brother’s wife now has a different Yoga instructor.
  • What happens to the rule of focus when the subject and verb are divided by a phrase? The same rule applies yet once again:
    • Nowadays, my brother, with his nephew James, goes on the same trip.

Next Post: Direct Objects and Prepositional Objects

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Help: Grammar-Check, I

We rely on language in order to communicate. In its spoken, written and signed forms. I have no experience nor do I possess any expertise in sign-language. As for spoken language, this platform is obviously not appropriate. Written language, however, is a discipline I have worked with, taught extensively and used for personal writings throughout the majority of my adult-life. Based on my prolonged and active involvement with language in its written form, I take the liberty to post related texts on this site.

Phonemes, morphemes, lexemes, syntax, and context are the five elements of language. It is through the joint work of these components, along with grammar, semantics, and pragmatics,  that we create meaningful communication. It is not my intent to turn this post into a classroom subject-matter with a barrage of materials to digest for no practical purpose. I would like to highlight instead some functional information regarding grammar, the most important building-block of the structure we call “language”.

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And today’s sentence d i s s e c t i o n begins . . .

The integral parts of a sentence we sometimes tend to forget and, as a result, neglect, are: Subject ~ Verb (a.k.a. the Predicate) ~ Object (Direct and Indirect Object)

  • In order to identify the subject (italicized in the sample sentences below), we ask the question “who” or “what”:
    • The award-winning writer was invited to a book-reading.
    • A book-reading was planned in honor of the award-winning writer.
  • The verb / predicate is the word that articulates the action of the subject:
    • Respectively, “To invite” and “To plan” in the sample sentences above (in their base, or, infinitive forms)
  • Any sentence can have a direct and an indirect object all at once, or display only one of the object forms. Neither one of the sample sentences used here have an object. Imagine this example:
    • The award-winning author gave away several copies of his debut book. (The italicized sentence part constitutes a direct object.)
    • The award-winning author gave his / her audience several copies of his debut book. (The italicized sentence part constitutes an indirect object.)

Next Post: Verb-Subject Agreement, and more . . .

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Help: Proofreading / Editing

The last post I shared with you here had come with a promise that there will be more steps to consider on the same subject; namely, self-editing. The intent of this writing is the same as the previous one: To help you to form a habit toward “proofreading” and, as an outcome, “copy editing” your draft text – regardless of the genre. The more involved process of “content editing” will be addressed in a different post.

  • A large amount of style guides are available online through respectable sites. Identify one (or more) about which you have a positive (i.e. trusting) feeling. Read it (or them) carefully. You will find that you are able to catch grammatical errors on your text you might otherwise overlook. For you are now familiar with an overview of potential mistakes, which you also have readily available at your fingertips when your selected style guide is concerned.
  • Apply a merciless fact-check on your written work. Then, double check. And, second-guess.
  • Make sure your draft flows by concentrating on the length of your sentence structures. Seek variation. Sentences should not appear as cookie-cutters.
  • Pay attention to the amount of your use of certain words (such as “or”, “perhaps”, “and” and “in fact / in actuality”). This attentive reading will help you to achieve a smoother flow in your text.
  • Keep a dictionary handy. At least a few times as you read, single out a word and spot-check to make sure its spelling is correct. By getting into a habit of doing so, you may catch an error along the way.
  • After you have done all you can with your draft, have someone else to review it in an active reading mode. Not to merely do a scan-reading, but rather to go over it attentively / critically.
  • If at all possible, designate a reading partner who would be willing to exchange editing with you.

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Self-Help: Proofreading / Editing

What I am sharing with you today will appear here in multiple steps (yes, with the hope to have you come back only because it is a vital need for any writer to produce her / his cleanest possible work before sharing it with the reader). Please note: The intent of this post is to initiate a habit in you – if you are not yet addicted to it – toward “copy editing” your written draft of any genre. The focus, in other words, is not “content editing”.
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At the risk of sounding mundane or redundant, I dare to proceed with highlighting the first few steps that are essential in the process of copy editing, each of which is an integral part of the more involved undertaking we over-simplistically call “editing”:
  • Make sure to read your work aloud and to do so at a very slow pace
  • Read the same work vigilantly to catch errors and do so from front to back, and then back to front
  • While you read your work, record your voice (speak as slowly as you have the patience for that out-of-your-norm-pace), and then listen to the small sections of what you have recorded
    • The first time, listen to details that sound out of order (specifically, how you have structured your sentences, your word choice, and phrasing)
    • The second time, read the corresponding text aloud
    • Then, record your voice once again with the new round of reading out of your text
  • Write down what your selected work is about (a synopsis, if you so choose to label it as)
  • Then create questions about the content of your work as a whole but write them at the beginning of each section
  • Compare / Contrast against the fact if your text answers your own questions
  • Make sure all your questions are answered

Summary

Self-editing, even if it is only to copy edit or proofread, is a process that will take more time and effort on your part than working through the same steps for someone else’s work will. Remember always to take your time and to question your own writing. You are, after all, saving yourself the expense of hiring a professional. It is still critical to have someone else – a friend, a co-worker, a family member with acute reading skills – look over your draft work when you conclude that it is finished. The logic behind this undertaking is your thorough familiarity with your own writing: If completely on your own, that intimate author-text-acquaintance presents the risk of you not being able to read what is in actuality in your text. As an outcome, you will not be in a position to catch all surface errors and / or discrepancies in that written draft.

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