Proofreading Using Control

Proofreading with CONTROL-F
Skiadas Version
The best revision and editing tool is to read your paper aloud. You have no idea how many
silly errors you’ll find doing this. The steps below will help as well because they deal with
mistakes we might overlook because they don’t jump out on the paper.
Step 1: Press CTRL and F at the same time. A box will appear:
Step 2: type a word in. (See proofreading list below for some examples.)
Step 3: press FIND NEXT.
Step 4: look at each instance of the word or punctuation mark that is found, and then see if it is
used correctly
Step 5: press FIND NEXT to find more. Continue this until no more words/phrases are found.
Proofreading Checklist
’ – Type one apostrophe into the search box. First, check to make sure the word possesses the
word that comes after it. If it doesn’t, the word is probably plural and no apostrophes is needed.
Second, if it is a contraction, get rid of it for formal papers, unless it’s a quote or dialogue.
Third, if using this for quotation marks, remember the only time ‘___’ is appropriate is for
quotes within quotes. All other times require “___”, even if it’s one word.
a lot, alot – There’s no such word as alot. Avoid using a lot because it’s overused, trite, and
stale. Use several, a number of people, the majority, or some other phrase that suits.
and, but, or, yet –If a subject and verb follow the conjunction, then place a comma before the
conjunction. Example: We bought milk, but we didn’t need any. This is a compound sentence.
after, although, as, because, before, even though, if, since, though, when, whereas, while, or
any other subordinating conjunction beginning an introductory phrase or dependent clause –
Type in each of these words one at a time. If these words come at the beginning of a sentence,
place a comma after the phrase or dependent clause.
be verbs (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been) – The easiest way to find these is to follow
this format: Search for am, is, are, was were, be, ‘m, ‘s, ‘re. If you find be, you’ll find been and
being. Ignore other words beginning with be. The contractions find the hidden be verbs such as
I’m, it’s, he’s, she’s, that’s, what’s there’re, we’re, you’re, etc.
I think, I believe, in my opinion, etc. – These phrases weaken papers and should be removed
because they are redundant. The audience already knows this is what the writer thinks by the
mere fact he/she has written it; therefore, these phrases are redundant. These phrases also have
the 1st person I, which is a no-no to use, as well.
its – Search its. – If the word can be read as it is or it has, use the contraction it’s. Otherwise,
it’s possessive and no comma is needed (just like yours has no contraction.)
of – Check to see if have is the appropriate choice. No to could of, yes to could have
so – If so comes at the beginning of sentence, get rid of it.
that – If the sentence makes sense without it, delete it. Also, use who rather than that regarding
a person or people. Example: Mark saw the man who juggles chainsaws.
then, than -- Search then. Make sure that it is expressing advancement in time. If used in a
comparison, change it to than. Examples: Alexander is smarter than Frederick. If my mother
goes, then you need to drive.
there, their, they’re– Search there. First - Check to see if it possesses the noun after it. If it
possesses the noun, then use their. Examples: They drove their car to the store. If the word can
be read as they are, then use they’re. Do you know if they’re going with us? In all other cases,
use there.
there is, there are, there was, he was, she was, they were, it was, etc. These phrases are
extremely weak ways to begin sentences. Try to rephrase so not so dull.
were, where – Common typo. Were is a verb as in They were going to come over. Where refers
to location. They went where they thought they would be safe.
you – If any form of you (you, your, yours, yourself) comes up anywhere other than a quote or if
the writer is directly speaking to the audience, as in a speech, change it to 3rd person. Use words
like people, society, individuals, woman, women, man, men, adults, teenagers, etc., and then
use the pronouns they, them, he, she, etc. BTW - u – No, no, no, no, no.
Make your own list of your top mistakes:
Writers might add words to the list they misspell often and run them through Control-F.
Suggestions for other common errors:
affect, effect
aloud, allowed
alright, all right
cant vs. can’t
definitely vs. defiantly
dieing, dyeing, dying – (dieing isn’t a word)
different from, not different than
except, accept
to, two, too
well vs. good
wont vs. won’t