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I. Editing and Error Correction

Editing and proof-reading are as important a part of writing as the drafting itself.

o Leave yourself time to read your essay at least twice.


o First Reading: focus on content, organization and cohesion
o Second reading: focus on language errors

I. Proof-reading:

At any level of language proficiency, certain types of mistakes are common, even if they are
very basic errors. You can self-correct these and avoid losing unnecessary points.

A) Common Errors: Here are some common language mistakes to look for in your
writing:

Type of error Examples of errors


1. missing “s” on third person singular: A diplomat, when visiting another country,
usually bring a small gift.
2. missing “s” on plural nouns It is one of the most important institution in the
world.
3. subject-verb agreement: “People in many parts of the world believes
that poverty is an inevitable part of existence.
4. simple past vs present perfect Human rights became a fundamental principle.
5. articles: Internet can bring both positive and negative
effects to society.”
6. Word order: The prime minister said that to fight the drought
would be necessary special financial aid.
7. missing subjects Is fundamental to learn from our mistakes.

B) Identifying your errors: in order to correct your mistakes, it is helpful to learn to


recognize them.

These symbols are commonly used to identify error types.

Symbol Type of error example Correct form


VT verb tense Yesterday, the news has been
terrible.
VF Verb form The news are terrible.
WW Wrong word Obama is the actual president.
WO Word order Also it has been proposed
ART/GR Article/Grammar The France is one of the
founding members.
Sp Spelling It is they’re choice.
P Punctuation The war ended, the peace treaty
was signed.
Str Structure It is necessary a reform. .
Sty Style It’s really important

Exercises: The underlined phrases are incorrect. Identify the type of error and then
write the correct sentence.

Example
There was a different money system , gold was the basis of this money system
Type of error: STR

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Corrected sentence: There was a different money system for which gold was the
basis.

1. The world, according to public opinion, has grown smaller.

___________________________________________________________________.

2. Globalization is a phenomenon recently discovered.

___________________________________________________________________.

3. It is interesting the similarity between the two.

___________________________________________________________________.

4. Globalisation isn’t an actual phenomenon.

___________________________________________________________________.

5. Is significant to note how it evolved.

___________________________________________________________________.

II. Fronting with Negative and Limiting Expressions : to emphasize a


certain part of the sentence, we can change the word order. However, this requires
certain structural changes too.

Neutral: Tourism will stimulate the country’s economy and create jobs.
Emphasis: Not only will tourism stimulate the country’s economy, it will
create jobs.

Note that when we begin a sentence with a negative or limiting expression, we must
invert the subject and verb, using an auxiliary verb where necessary.

Normal syntax: Tourism will stimulate the economy (subject + verb)

inverted syntax: not only will tourism stimulate (negative expression + aux verb +
subject + infinitive

Here are some common negative or limiting expressions:

Not only Under no circumstances Only if Only by


Rarely Seldom Never On no account
Not unless On no condition Only when Not until

Practice

Rewrite these sentences

1. Police must under no circumstances be given responsibility for protecting


witnesses from other police.

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Under no circumstances_________________________________________________.

2. We will accept bribery on no condition.


On no condition _______________________________________________________.

3. I will consider seeking re-election to the Secretary of State's position only if


formally asked to do so.
Only if __________________________________________________________.

4. Politicians seldom acknowledge the importance of international institutions.


Seldom ____________________________________________________________.

5. Countries will become more responsible only if their leaders are taken to task for
their crimes against humanity.
Only if ______________________________________________________________.

6. Governments will begin to tackle the problem effectively only by adopting clear
policies.
Only by ____________________________________________________________.

III. The Passive Form: The passive form is often used in formal writing, which
tends to be less personal and less direct. It is often used in the language of foreign
affairs to avoid diplomatic incidents.

There are several ways of forming the Passive:

1. By making the object the subject: subj + to be + past participle

Active: Scientists invented computers for military purposes.


Passive: Computers were invented for military purposes.

2. with the impersonal “it” with verbs like know, believe, maintain, claim, think.
These are used to report opinions without naming the subject.

Active: Activists think that human rights are fundamental to democracy


Passive: It is thought that human rights are fundamental to democracy.

3. with the object as subject followed by a passive infinitive

Active: Activists think that human rights are fundamental to democracy.


Passive: Human rights are thought to be fundamental to democracy.

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