A photograph of a box that reads “motercycle parking”; motorcycle is misspelled.

Source: 09222006, bp33, Flickr

There are many excuses for allowing mistakes to creep into our writing: “My spell check didn’t catch that”; “My elementary teachers never taught me capitalization rules”; or “My mom says she doesn’t understand semicolons either.” The truth is that if your writing contains some of the mistakes named in these excuses, you are projecting a negative image of yourself to readers.

You may not realize it, but readers often judge us by our written communication, so it is important, even imperative, to be correct. That’s why it’s a good idea to use editing strategies to help you proofread your writing and catch errors that might cost you a job or entrance into college. Even though it takes time to proofread and edit your writing, the results will be worth the time in the end.

In this lesson, you will use strategies to discover errors in spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Each section will contain an exercise, and at the end of the lesson, you will put all three skills together. The old saying “Practice makes perfect” is definitely true, so let’s start practicing.