3 Proofreading Exercises to Help You Hone Your Skills

Introduction

Proofreading ExercisesTaking your work from inception to publishable product requires that you perform a series of detail-oriented tasks. One of the final tasks in this process is that of proofreading. Because it is easy to miss errors in one’s own writing, experienced editors and proofreaders can help you polish your words and ideas to make sure you produce the best possible version of your work. However, being able to review a document for clarity and grammatical accuracy is a good skill to have, as it enables you to proofread as you write, review other people’s writing, and even work as a proofreader on a freelance basis.

To do any of this, however, you must first understand the differences between editing and proofreading. Editing involves an in-depth review of written work. It requires looking not only for grammatical mistakes but also for issues like inconsistency in style, voice, plot, and characterization. Because the editor must keep all these complex matters in mind, smaller inconsistencies and errors may remain even after the document has been reviewed.

That’s where proofreading comes in. Good proofreaders are detail-oriented individuals who know their grammar rules inside and out and are able to spot mistakes. Without having to worry about things like style and voice, a proofreader can focus on the mechanical aspects of writing, making sure that each word and sentence is correct.

Proofreading Exercises

Being able to successfully proofread often means you’re the type of person who spots every spelling mistake, comma splice, or formatting inconsistency. Do you think you have what it takes? If so, spot the common proofreading errors in the following three proofreading exercises to practice your skills and become a better proofreader!

Feel free to paste the text into a document editor (such as Microsoft Word) so that you can keep track of your changes. Once you’ve gone through each exercise, check your changes against the answer key below. If you want more advanced proofreading training, consider our proofreading course.

Proofreading Exercise 1:

In Greek mythology Zeus, an Olympian god, was known as the immortal ruler of both gods and men. Zeus was the son of the titans Cronos and Rhea and presided over his 5 brothers and sisters who ruled various aspect of the heavenly and earthly worlds. He was married to his sister Heera, with whom he had three children: Ares—the god of war, Hephaistos—the god of metalworking, and Hebe—the goddess of youth. Hera was often the jealous wife, and unhappy with Zeus’s many affairs with other goddesses, nymphs and mortal woman. As a result of these affairs, many ancient greek heroes and rulers were produced, such as Perseus, Hercules, and even the famous Helen of Troy. As a god, Zeus ruled over the most important aspects of nature and human society, and he controlled the laws and fates of men as well as the sky and whether. He is often called by the epithets “The Thunderer” or “Gatherer of Clouds” in the Homeric poems, his control of such natural forces were represented by his weapons and armor: Zeus was able to fight with both thunder and lightning, and the shaking of his aegis (his shield) could create terrible storms.

Proofreading Exercise 2:

Moose related deaths are on the rise in Canada. As highways expand and encroach on the habitat of Canadian wildlife, vehicle collisions with these animals are becoming more commonplace, especially in provinces, such as British Colombia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and labrador. According to Wildlifecollisions.ca, in 2014 there were four to 8 large animal vehicle collisions and hour within Canada. A large number of these collisions involve moose and deer species, so much so, that a class-action lawsuit was brought against Newfoundland’s Provincial Government for not controlling the explosive moose population in that province. In situations where average highway speeds are 100 km/hour and the average moose weighs 700 kg, collisions can be fatal for both the animal and the vehicle occupants. These types of incidents will continue to increase on the Canadian island as human populations expand alongside the moose, which is considered an invasive species on the island and has no natural predators.

Proofreading Exercise 3:

The past decade has witnessed the rise in popularity of the fictional monster known as the zombie. From movies and TV shows to iPhone apps and bestselling novels, the zombie has permeated popular culture. What if a zombie plague was possible? Surprisingly, there are quite a few scientists who have taken a serious look at the causes and probability of a zombie pandemic occurring in the real world. They have broken down the common symptoms of zombie virus sufferers to determine what might actually be going on in those half-eaten brains. The most common symptom of the zombie illness is the lumbering gait, which indicates a loss of coordination and neurological damage. This may go hand-in-hand with the classic loss of intelligence and penchant for moaning. Second, the insatiable zombie appetite for other humans could be associated with lost hyptothalamic functioning. Zombies’ rage; one-track minds; and inability to remember loved ones are all symptoms of severe brain damage as well, with different areas of the brain being effected. So, what should you do if your ever face-to-face with a zombie? Much like with T-Rex in Jurassic Park, do not run and find somewhere to hide. Zombie’s suffer from something like Bálint’s syndrome, which causes the sufferer to only see whatever requires the most attention.

Answer KeyProofreading Exercises

Now let’s see how you did! You can compare your changes to the revised passages below, or you can download the full answer key here. to have each change highlighted and explained.

Proofreading Exercise 1 Key:

In Greek mythology, Zeus, an Olympian god, was known as the immortal ruler of both gods and men. Zeus was the son of the titans Cronus and Rhea and presided over his five brothers and sisters, who ruled various aspects of the heavenly and earthly worlds. He was married to his sister Hera, with whom he had three children: Ares—the god of war, Hephaistos—the god of metalworking, and Hebe—the goddess of youth. Hera was often the jealous wife and unhappy with Zeus’ many affairs with other goddesses, nymphs, and mortal women. As a result of these affairs, many ancient Greek heroes and rulers were produced, such as Perseus, Hercules, and even the famous Helen of Troy. As a god, Zeus ruled over the most important aspects of nature and human society, and he controlled the laws and fates of men as well as the sky and weather. He is often called by the epithets “The Thunderer” or “Gatherer of Clouds” in the Homeric poems, and his control of such natural forces was represented by his weapons and armor: Zeus was able to fight with both thunder and lightning, and the shaking of his aegis (his shield) could create terrible storms.

Proofreading Exercise 2 Key:

Moose-related deaths are on the rise in Canada. As highways expand and encroach on the habitats of Canadian wildlife, vehicle collisions with Canadian wildlife are becoming more commonplace, especially in provinces such as British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. According to Wildlifecollisions.ca (2014), in 2014 there were four to eight large animal vehicle collisions an hour within Canada. A large number of these collisions involve moose and deer species, so much so that a class-action lawsuit was brought against Newfoundland’s provincial government for not controlling the explosive moose population in that province. In situations where average highway speeds are 100 km/hour and the average moose weighs 700 kg, collisions can be fatal for both the animal and the vehicle occupants. These types of incidents will continue to increase on the Canadian island as human populations expand alongside the moose, which is considered an invasive species on the island and has no natural predators.

Proofreading Exercise 3 Key:

The past decade has witnessed the rise in popularity of the fictional monster known as the zombie. From movies and TV shows to iPhone apps and bestselling novels, the zombie has permeated popular culture. What if a zombie plague was possible? Surprisingly, there are quite a few scientists who have taken a serious look at the causes and probability of a zombie pandemic occurring in the real world. They have broken down the common symptoms of zombie-virus sufferers to determine what might actually be going on in those half-eaten brains. First, the most common symptom of the zombie illness is the lumbering gait, which indicates a loss of coordination and neurological damage. This may go hand-in-hand with the classic loss of intelligence and penchant for moaning. Second, the insatiable zombie appetite for other humans could be associated with lost hypothalamic functioning. Zombies’ rage, one-track minds, and inability to remember loved ones are all symptoms of severe brain damage as well, with different areas of the brain being affected. So, what should you do if you’re ever face-to-face with a zombie? Much like with T-Rex in Jurassic Park, do not run and find somewhere to hide. Zombies suffer from something like Bálint’s syndrome, which causes the sufferer to only see whatever requires the most attention.

Did you catch all the mistakes in these proofreading exercises?

Image sources: markusspiske/Pixabay.com, skeeze/Pixabay.com

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