A photograph of a female student going over a paper with her male teacher in a classroom.

Source: BASCS Newspaper Workshop, Stephen Coles, Flickr

Now that you have completed the first two sections of this lesson, it’s time to put everything together and practice what you have learned. As you proofread a text, you will look for and highlight errors in capitalization and spelling. First, you will highlight in blue the words that you think should be capitalized or any that are capitalized and should not be. Then, you will reread the article and highlight in pink the misspelled words. By using the color-coding method in editing, you will identify errors that you need to correct before completing your final draft. Reading a text over and over again and concentrating on finding one kind of error at a time increases the chances of an error-free final draft.

The excerpt below is from an article in the New York Times. In “The Dutch Prize Their Pedal Power, but a Sea of Bikes Swamps Their Capital,” John Tagliabue writes about the abundance of bikes in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

To complete the exercise below, do the following::

1. First, click on words that you think should be capitalized or any that are capitalized and should not be. They will highlight in blue. You should find 10 capitalization errors.

2. Next, take a second look at the article. Highlight in pink the 11 misspelled words.

icon for an interactive exercise
take notes icon In your notes, write down the correctly capitalized versions of words from the exercise that you chose as incorrectly capitalized. (These are the 10 words you highlighted in blue.) When you are finished, check your understanding for a possible response.

Check Your Understanding

Sample Responses:


take notes icon In your notes, write down the correct spellings of the 11 words that are incorrectly spelled in the exercise. (These are the words you highlighted in pink.) When you are finished, check your understanding for a possible response.

Check Your Understanding

Sample Responses:


Now that you have finished finding and correcting errors, check your understanding to read a corrected version of the text.

Check Your Understanding
One woman confounded in a sea of bikes; it is as if she searches for her bike, bike chain, or a place to put her bike.

Source: Pavel Prokopchik for The New York Times

About 6:30 weekday mornings, throngs of bicycles, with a smattering of motor scooters and pedestrians, pour off the ferries that carry bikers and other passengers free of charge across the IJ (pronounced "eye") harbor, clogging the streets and causing traffic jams down behind Amsterdam's main train station.

Bicycles clog streets and cause traffic jams, but as one official put it, “You cannot imagine if all this traffic were cars.”

“In the afternoon it’s even more,” moaned Erwin Schoof, a metalworker in his 20s who lives in the canal-laced center of town and battles the chaos daily to cross to his job.

Willem van Heijningen, a railway official responsible for bikes around the station, said, “It’s not a war zone, but it's the next thing to it.”

This clogged stream of cyclists is just one of many in a city as renowned for bikes as Los Angeles is for automobiles or Venice for gondolas. Cyclists young and old pedal through narrow lanes and along canals. Mothers and fathers balance toddlers in spacious wooden boxes affixed to their bikes, ferrying them to school or day care. Carpenters carry tools and supplies in similar contraptions and electricians their cables. Few wear helmets. Increasingly, some are saying what was simply unthinkable just a few years ago: There are too many bikes.

While cities like New York struggle to get people onto bikes, Amsterdam is trying to keep its hordes of bikes under control. In a city of 800,000, there are 880,000 bicycles, the government estimates, four times the number of cars. In the past two decades, travel by bike has grown by 40 percent so that now about 32 percent of all trips within the city are by bike, compared with 22 percent by car.

Applauding this accomplishment, a Danish urban planning consultancy, Copenhagenize Design, which publishes an annual list of the 20 most bike-friendly cities, placed Amsterdam in first place this year, as it has frequently in the past. (The list consists mostly of European cities, though Tokyo; Nagoya, Japan; and Rio de Janeiro made the cut. Montreal is the only North American city included.)

A photograph of a female student and a female teacher working together. The teacher is pointing to something on the computer screen and the student is writing something down in a notebook.

Source: Writing_Center_IMG_7886, Eastern Arizona College, Flickr

When you write, whether it is an essay, a paragraph, or just a simple sentence, it is helpful to use these editing tactics to proofread your writing. Remember that the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary will have the answers to many of your questions about spelling and capitalization. Beware of relying too heavily on spell-check. It does not always catch the differences among homophones. Even though the English language is sometimes tricky, it is important to write as correctly as you possibly can, including correcting mispelled words and capitalizing when needed. Just remember: Your job may depend on it!

Did you catch the misspelling above? You got it! Now you can add “misspelled” to your writing dictionary.