Accuracy in EAP

Proofreading written English

When writing English for academic purposes it is important to be accurate. It is, however, very difficult to produce language which is intelligent, appropriate and accurate at the same time. It is therefore important to break down the task into stages: an ideas stage and an accuracy stage. In the accuracy stage, all your ideas are on the paper and you can concentrate on accuracy. You can carefully read your work and correct your mistakes. This is proofreading.

However, in the same way that it is difficult to concentrate on ideas and accuracy at the same time, it is difficult to check your work for all kinds of mistake at the same time. You therefore need to check your work several times, for different purposes.

"Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte." (I have made this letter longer than usual, simply because I have not had the time to make it shorter.) Blaise Pascal, Lettres Provinciales XVI, 1656.

For example, first check your verbs, then check your prepositions, next check your articles etc. If you practise some of the exercises here, it will help you find your own mistakes.

Click here to see something that was not proof-read and here for my favourite one.

Exercise

Proofread the following text: How many mistakes can you find?

Comparative study of animal help to show how man's space require are influenced in his environment. In animals we can observing the direction, the rate, and the extent of changes of behaviour that follow changes in space available to them as we can never hope to do in men. For one thing, by using animals it am possible to acelerate time, since animal generations is relatively short. Scientist can, at forty years, observe four hundred forty generations of mice, while has in the same span of time seen only two generations of his own kind. And, off course, he can be more detatched about the fate of animal.

Press this if you want to check your answers: Answer