As you read through your partner’s draft in class, feel free to make margin comments, but steer clear of doing too much editing. Once you’ve finished shaping a draft, you enter the revising stage of the writing process; editing comes later. What good is it to edit a sentence you may end up cutting? The purpose of peer review is to check for global issues that the writer can work on revising over the weekend, issues like:
- Thesis (central claim) and Argument (supporting evidence)
- Organization (logical flow of ideas you can follow)
- Structure (paragraphing, topic sentences, and transitions)
- Clarity of ideas
However, sometimes wonky sentence structure and/or frequent grammatical errors can interfere with out ability to understand ideas. If that’s the case, then help the writer with the most pressing errors, but don’t feel obligated to fix every one – keep your eye on the quality of his or her ideas and argument and let the writer know that the errors were distracting.
Tips for Proofreading/Editing on Your Own
- Read the paper out loud: your ear is always a better judge of language than your eye.
- Read your paper backwards: Begin with the last sentence and read to the first; your brain will shift gears.
- Have someone else read your essay out loud to you.
- Don’t rely on spell check (or believe everything it tells you).
- Don’t believe everything yourroommate tells you (even if he or she is an English major).
Taylor Mali, a spoken word artist and former middle school teacher, gives writers some advice on proofreading their work: