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How to Proofread With Microsoft Word
- 5-minute read
- 16th January 2023
Proofreading your own writing can be challenging. Thankfully, Microsoft Word has a plethora of tools to help you better proofread your writing. This article will go over eight proofreading tips you can use to ensure error-free writing besides turning on your spell checker .
Also, be sure to check out Proofed’s collection of posts and YouTube channel dedicated to helping you master Microsoft Word.
1. Useful Shortcuts for Proofreading
To cut down on time spent while proofreading, use these common shortcuts. Here’s a complete list of shortcuts [TM1] in Microsoft Word to see all your options.
2. Add Comments
Use comments on another person’s writing or your own for helpful suggestions or reminders to add citations or more information.
To add a comment, highlight the text you want to leave a comment on, then click Insert and Comment .
Type your comment, then press Ctrl + Enter to add the comment to the text.
3. Use the Thesaurus…With Caution
Using the thesaurus function in Word can be great if you need to add more variety to your vocabulary or if you have a word used in a sentence more than once. However, be sure to check that the synonyms are appropriate for your context.
To see synonyms for a word, highlight the word, right-click, and select Synonyms . You should see a list of synonyms for the word you highlighted.
In the above example, I used “sentence” in my sentence two times and wanted to add a different word. However, you can see from my synonyms that the thesaurus did not give me appropriate suggestions. In this case, it is important to make sure that the suggestions are appropriate for your context.
4. Use the Read Aloud Function
One of the best ways to proofread your own work is to read it aloud because sometimes we miss mistakes when we read our own work. For example, it is easy to skim over an instance of “the the” in a sentence. Instead, use the Read Aloud function in Word to have your computer read it to you.
To do this, make sure your cursor is where you want the computer to start reading. Go to the Review tab and select Read Aloud . You can find a pause/play, playback, and fast-forward function on the right-hand side of the document.
5. Use Ignore All When Microsoft Word Makes a Mistake
This might seem counterintuitive, but when Word highlights an unfamiliar word as misspelled, be sure to right-click the word and select Ignore All in the bottom left corner of the spelling menu. By doing this, you keep your page tidy, which helps you identify real errors.
6. Use Microsoft Word’s Editor Function
Did you know that you already have an editor hiding in your computer at home to make writing and proofreading easier?
To use the editor function and get all its benefits, make sure you are on the Home tab and look at the very last option on the right that says Editor . Click it and a whole menu will come up on the right-hand side of your document.
From here, you get an overview of all the errors Microsoft Word has detected in your document in addition to customizations, such as the tone of voice (formal, professional, or casual), corrections for spelling and grammar, and refinements, including clarity, conciseness, and punctuation conventions.
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7. Customize Your Proofreading Suggestions
To customize your proofreading suggestions from Microsoft Word, click on File , and go to More at the bottom of the menu.
From there, select Options .
Next, you will see the Word Options page pop up. Select Proofing to see all the default settings Microsoft Word uses for your proofreading suggestions.
On this page, you can browse all the different options Word has and customize them however you like.
Let’s look at an example of how you could change Word’s suggestions to be more gender inclusive (not currently a default setting).
To do this, you are going to select Settings beside the Writing Style and Grammar & Refinements options.
Next, you’ll see a Grammar Settings box open, and you are going to scroll down to Inclusiveness and select Gender-Neutral Pronouns . You can go ahead and select or remove any other proofing suggestions you want at this time.
After you make this change, Microsoft Word will suggest that you use more gender-inclusive pronouns.
8. Use Track Changes
Track Changes is a Word function that will show you all the proofreading marks you make in a document. This is very helpful if you are proofreading someone else’s work, need to compare drafts, or want to show your academic supervisor or professor that you made corrections.
Go to the Review tab, select Tracking , then Simple Markup . In Simple Markup, all your changes will stay in the red bar on the right side of the page to keep your document tidy. This makes it easier to read during the editing/proofreading process.
To see all of your changes, you can either click the red bar on the left-hand side of the page or select All Markup under the Tracking function.
Proofreading is challenging, but Word has lots of built-in tools to help. The best advice is to get familiar with Word’s functions and pages and always check out their Support Page if you have any trouble.
If you find that proofreading your own writing is too big a task even with Word’s many tools, no worries! Proofed will proofread your first 500 words for free .
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How to Use MS Word for Proofreading
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If you are not already using MS Word’s many settings designed to ensure accurate proofreading, you are doing yourself a disservice. After spending countless hours writing, you want to ensure you are presenting your work as professionally as possible. In this article, I explain how to get the most out of MS Word when proofreading your own writing.
Note that the following instructions apply to Word 2007 and later.
Spelling and Grammar Check Basics
You probably already know how to perform a spell check, but do you know how to ensure that your spell check is appropriate for your document and that all text is included in the spell check? The following two steps will ensure your document is being thoroughly and correctly spell checked.
Check Your Language Settings
To check your language settings:
- Highlight your entire document (Ctrl+A).
- Go to the ‘Review’ tab.
- Click on the ‘Language’ dropdown menu and select ‘Set Proofing Language’. This will bring up the Language box.
- Select the most suitable version of English, which will be ‘English (Australia)’ for Australian writers submitting to an Australian university or journal.
- Ensure that the ‘Do not check spelling and grammar’ box is clear (i.e. unticked). If you do not do this, some sentences may not be spell checked.
Check Your Proofing Options
It is also a good idea to check your Proofing Options:
- Go to ‘File’.
- Click on ‘Options’. This opens the Word Options window.
- In the menu on the left-hand side, choose ‘Proofing’.
- Under ‘When correcting spelling and grammar in Word’, check that ‘Grammar & more’ (if using Word 2016, otherwise this will be ‘Grammar & Style’) is selected from the dropdown menu.
- Check that the boxes are ticked that allow for errors to be pointed out as you type and for grammar and spelling errors to be checked together.
- Under ‘Exceptions for’, you will need to check that spelling and grammar errors are not being hidden.
Note: If you were checking the formatting of your reference list, you might like to check it once for spelling and then turn off grammar and spell check so that you can check it again closely for formatting. There are times when hiding the grammar and spell check errors is useful.
Taking Control of Your Spell and Grammar Check
Personalising your grammar settings.
In the image above, where you selected ‘Grammar & more’ from the dropdown menu, you can also change the settings of the grammar checker. Clicking ‘Settings’ opens the Grammar Settings window. Here, you can decide which error types you want Word to check for and which you don’t. For example, if you are writing in a field that requires the use of passive voice, you might like to turn off that check. You should also check that all necessary checks are ticked.
Adding to Your Personal Dictionary
If you are writing in a field with a technical vocabulary, Word may incorrectly identify some words as misspelled. Rather than ‘ignoring’ these, you should ‘Add them to Dictionary’. This adds those words to your custom dictionary. To manage the words in your custom dictionary (e.g. if you have accidentally added a misspelled word to the dictionary):
- Go to Proofing Options (as above) and look for ‘Custom Dictionaries’.
- The tick box ‘Suggest from main dictionary only’ should be clear. This way, Autocorrect will make suggestions from your custom dictionary as well.
- Click on ‘Custom Dictionaries’ to open a window.
- Select the default custom dictionary and select ‘Edit Word List’. You can then delete entries.
Running Your Final Spell Check
Having adjusted all of the above settings, not only will you have been able to correct your typos and grammar errors as you type, but your final grammar and spell check will also be considerably faster and more effective.
- You will be sure that your whole document is being checked according to your target language.
- You will have excluded any grammar checks that you do not require, saving time.
- You will have excluded any correctly spelled words that are not recognised by Word’s spell check (e.g. technical vocabulary, author names), saving even more time.
- By reducing the length of the grammar and spell check, you will be less likely to rush the check, missing important errors.
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How To Proofread in Word: Tricks and Tools for Error-Free Writing
Proofreading is an essential part of any written communication. Whether you're writing an email, a report, or a blog post, ensuring your writing is error-free and polished is crucial. Proofreading can help you catch mistakes, correct grammar and spelling errors, and improve the overall clarity and readability of your writing.
If you're a frequent user of Microsoft Word, you're in luck - the program offers a range of tools and tricks that can make proofreading a breeze. In this article, we'll explore the ins and outs of proofreading in Microsoft Word and share some tips and tricks to help you improve your writing and eliminate errors. So, let's dive in!
In this article
How to proofread in microsoft word.
Microsoft Word offers several proofreading tools and features to help you catch errors and improve your writing. To get started, it's important to understand these tools and how to use them effectively.
One of the first things you can do is set your language preferences and custom dictionaries. This ensures that Word recognizes your writing language and helps prevent spelling and grammar errors. You can access these settings under the "Review" tab and click on "Language." You can select your language preference from there and add custom words to your dictionary.
Next, you'll want to turn on the grammar and spelling check feature. This can be found under "File," "Options," and "Proofing." Ensure the boxes for "Check to spell as you type" and "Mark grammar errors as you type" are checked. With these settings enabled Word will highlight spelling and grammar errors as you type, making it easy to spot and correct mistakes.
Another helpful tool is Word's built-in proofreading feature. This tool analyzes your writing for common errors and suggests corrections. To use it, click "Review" and "Spelling & Grammar." Word will scan your document and highlight errors. You can choose to accept or reject the suggested corrections as you go.
Finally, don't forget about the "Thesaurus" feature. This can be found under "Review" and help you find synonyms for words and avoid repetition in your writing.
Overall, Microsoft Word's proofreading tools and features can help you catch errors and improve the quality of your writing. Understanding how to use these tools effectively saves time and ensures your written communication is polished and professional.
Advanced Proofreading Techniques in Microsoft Word
While Microsoft Word's built-in proofreading tools are great for catching errors, a few advanced techniques can take your proofreading game to the next level. Let's explore some of these techniques:
One helpful tool is Word's "Read Aloud" feature, which reads your text out loud for auditory proofreading. To use this feature, select the text you want to proofread, click "Review," and "Read Aloud." This can be especially helpful for catching errors you may have missed when reading silently.
Another advanced technique is customizing Word's proofreading settings to fit your needs. For example, you can add proofreading rules or exclude certain errors from being flagged. To do this, go to "File," "Options," "Proofing," and click on "Settings." From there, you can customize your proofreading settings to your liking.
Keyboard shortcuts can also speed up your proofreading process. For example, "Ctrl +;" can insert the current date, while "Ctrl + Shift + *" can show or hide non-printing characters. These shortcuts are under the "Proofing" section in Word's options.
Finally, consider using Track Changes mode for editing and proofreading. This mode allows you to make changes and suggestions to a document without altering the original text. To turn on Track Changes, click "Review" and then "Track Changes." This can be especially helpful for collaborative writing projects, allowing multiple people to make suggestions and revisions without losing the original text.
Using these advanced proofreading techniques in Microsoft Word allows you to catch errors and improve your writing more efficiently and effectively.
Tips for Effective Proofreading in Word
In addition to the built-in proofreading tools and advanced techniques we've covered, you can use a few tips and strategies to make your proofreading more effective. Let's explore some of these tips:
Use your Skills
First, it's important to avoid common proofreading mistakes. For example, don't rely solely on spell check to catch errors; it may miss contextual or homophones. Additionally, proofread for grammar, punctuation, formatting, and spelling errors.
Find and Replace
Another helpful tool is the "Find and Replace" feature, which can quickly identify and correct errors. For example, if you frequently misspell a word, you can use "Find and Replace" to replace all instances of the misspelled word with the correct spelling.
Take a Break
Effective proofreading also involves:
●Using strategies such as taking breaks between proofreading sessions.
●Reading your writing out loud.
●Printing out your document for a fresh perspective.
These strategies can help you catch errors you may have missed when reading silently.
It's also important to consider the specific requirements of different types of documents when proofreading. For example, academic papers may require a more formal tone and adherence to specific citation styles, while business reports may require a focus on clarity and brevity. On the other hand, emails may require a more conversational tone and attention to tone and tone of voice.
Seek Some Help
Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help. A fresh pair of eyes can often catch mistakes you may have missed. Consider having a colleague or friend review your writing or hire a professional proofreader.
Using PDFelement in Proofreading in Word
Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor is a versatile tool that can be used for various tasks, including proofreading. One of the key features of PDFelement is its ability to create PDFs from Word files, which can then be proofread using the tool's built-in functions.
PDFelement's proofreading function includes a variety of capabilities, such as highlighting and commenting on the text, adding sticky notes, and even using the "Proofread" and "Rewrite" features to make corrections directly in the PDF. These features make it easy to catch errors and make necessary revisions without switching back and forth between multiple programs.
To proofread PDFelement, simply create a PDF from your Word file and open it in the program. From there, you can use the various proofreading tools to identify and correct errors. Once you've made your revisions, you can save the PDF and export it back to Word if necessary.
Using PDFelement's Proofread Feature
PDFelement's Proofread feature is an advanced tool that can help you improve the clarity and style of your writing. With just a few clicks, you can use this function to analyze your text for grammar and spelling errors and suggest improvements to sentence structure and word choice.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use PDFelement's Proofread feature:
Step 1 Open the PDF file you want to proofread in PDFelement.
Step 2 Click the "Proofread" button to switch to Proofread mode in the top toolbar.
Step 3 In the pop-up window, enter the content you want to proofread in the "Content" box and click "Proofread."
Step 4 PDFelement's AI robot Lumi will then analyze the text and suggest improving grammar, spelling, and word choice.
Step 5 Check the results in the Response box. You can copy the revised content to other files or use it to replace the original text directly.
Customize the settings to suit your needs to use the Proofread feature effectively. You can choose from various options, such as turning on/off specific checks (e.g., passive voice), adjusting the level of correction suggestions, and more.
Using PDFelement's Rewrite Feature
The Rewrite feature in PDFelement helps enhance your document's clarity, style, and grammar. To use this feature, select "Rewrite" and enter the content in the "Content" box. Then, click "Rewrite" to let Lumi, the PDF AI robot, optimize your content.
Once Lumi has rewritten the content, you can copy the response to your files or use the rewritten text to replace the original text directly. This function is very useful in proofreading documents, and it helps to save time and effort in correcting errors manually.
Here are the step-by-step instructions to use the Rewrite feature in PDFelement:
Step 1 Choose the "Rewrite" option in the PDFelement toolbar.
Step 2 Enter the content in the "Content" box provided.
Step 3 Click the "Rewrite" button to start the optimization process.
Step 4 Lumi will rewrite the content and suggest improving its clarity, style, and grammar.
Step 5 Check the response in the Response box.
Step 6 You can copy the response to your files or use the rewritten content to replace the original text directly.
Here are some examples of how the Rewrite feature in PDFelement can be used to improve writing:
●Eliminating wordiness: The Rewrite feature can help to identify and remove unnecessary words and phrases from a piece of writing. For example, it can suggest rephrasing a sentence like "In my opinion, I think that" to simply "I believe that."
●Improving sentence structure: The feature can also suggest changes to the structure of a sentence to make it clearer and more concise. For example, it might suggest changing a long, convoluted sentence into two shorter, simpler ones.
●Correcting grammar and punctuation: The Rewrite feature can help to identify and correct grammar and punctuation errors in a piece of writing. For example, it might suggest changing a sentence from "Their going to the store" to "They're going to the store."
●Enhancing style and tone: The feature can also suggest changes to the style and tone of a piece of writing to make it more engaging and effective. For example, it might suggest rephrasing a dry, technical sentence into a more lively and engaging one.
Effective proofreading is an essential aspect of written communication. Microsoft Word provides several useful proofreading tools and features, and PDFelement is a powerful tool that can enhance the proofreading process. Using these tools and techniques, you can improve the quality of your writing, avoid common proofreading mistakes, and communicate your ideas more clearly and effectively. Consistent practice allows you to become a more confident proofreader and proficient writer.
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Frequently asked questions about grammar proofing in Word
For a Microsoft Word 2000 version of this article, see 211519 .
For a Microsoft Word 98 version of this article, see 181863 .
For a Microsoft Word 97 version of this article, see 167655 .
This article answers the more frequently asked questions about the grammar proofing tool in Microsoft Office Word 2007, in Microsoft Office Word 2003, and in Microsoft Word 2002.
What does it mean that Word has a "natural language" grammar proofing tool? The grammar proofing tool in Word performs a comprehensive and accurate analysis (also known as "parsing") of the submitted text, instead of just using a series of heuristics (or pattern matching) to flag errors. The grammar proofing tool analyzes text at a syntactical level and at a deeper, logical level, to understand the relationship between the actions and the people or things that are performing those actions. For example, the Word grammar proofing tool analyzes the following complex sentence
The legend says that that Kingdom was created by three ancient magicians, whose magical powers governed the world and made them immortal and all-powerful. and rewrites it from the passive voice to the active voice for clarity. The grammar proofing tool also sets off the relative clause between commas:
The legend says that three ancient magicians, whose magical powers governed the world and made them immortal and all-powerful, created that Kingdom.Note This functionality is not turned on by default. To turn on this functionality, follow these steps:
On the Tools menu, click Options .
On the Spelling & Grammar tab, in the Grammar area, change the Writing style box to Grammar & Style .
Click OK to close the Options dialog box.
Who developed the Word grammar proofing tool? The grammar proofing tool is fully developed and owned by Microsoft.
What are the key differences between the Word grammar proofing tool and other grammar-proofing solutions by third-party vendors? One of the key differences between the Word grammar proofing tool and other grammar proofing solutions is that the grammar proofing tool in Word uses advanced parsing techniques to understand the sentence structure. Third-party grammar proofing solutions may rely mainly on "pattern matching". "Pattern matching" means that the program uses a technique that matches the checked text against patterns of text that are stored in an internal database.
What are the file names of the grammar proofing tool files, and where are they installed? The Word Setup program installs the grammar proofing tool by default. The English (United States) grammar proofing tool comprises two files:
Msgr3en.dll installed in the following folder:
Drive :\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof\1033
Msgr3en.lex installed in the following folder:
Drive :\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof\
How much memory does my computer need to allow Word to check the grammar in my document as I type? Word turns on the grammar proofing tool automatically if your computer has sufficient available memory. The method of grammar checking that is turned on when you set up and first start Word depends on the amount of available memory on your computer. Manually Use the Grammar Proofing Tool (8 MB or More): To run the grammar proofing tool when you click Spelling and Grammar on the Tools menu, your computer must have more than 8 megabytes (MB) physical RAM. If you have less than 8 MB, the Check grammar as you type feature is turned off by default when you first start Word. Automatically Use the Grammar Proofing Tool (12 MB or More): To run the Check grammar as you type option constantly (to display grammatical errors with wavy underlines), your computer must have at least 12 MB of physical RAM. If your computer has less than 12 MB of RAM, the Hide Grammatical Errors check box is selected when you first start Word. To turn on Check grammar as you type , point to Options on the Tools menu, click the Spelling & Grammar tab, and then click to select the Check grammar as you type check box. Note For all Western European languages other than English, the Check grammar as you type option is turned off by default. (The English grammar proofing tool is included with all versions of Word.)
Where are the registry entries for the grammar proofing tool? Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows Grammar Settings Per User: Note Word creates this setting if the setting does not exist in the Windows registry:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Proofing Tools\Grammar\MSGrammar Under this subkey, Word registers the grammar version number (3.0 in the case of English), the language IDs (1033 in the case of U.S. English), and the grammar settings that you choose on the Spelling and Grammar tab in the Options dialog box (Tools menu). In Word, you can select two writing styles on the Spelling and Grammar tab: Grammar and Style or Grammar only. These options are defined in the Name entries in the Option Set 0 subkey and the Option Set 1 subkey. For each of these options, you can also set rules that Word uses to check grammar. To set these rules, click Settings on the Spelling and Grammar tab. These settings are also stored as binary instructions in the Data entries in the Option Set 0 subkey and the Option Set 1 subkey. Note If you upgraded from an earlier version of Word, Name entries will be defined as casual, standard, formal, technical, or custom, rather than as Grammar and Style or Grammar only. In this case, the registry will have Option Set 0 through Option Set 4 subkeys, which correspond to each of these writing styles. Grammar Machine Settings: Note This setting must exist to check grammar in a specific language.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Proofing Tools\Grammar Under this key are the language IDs (1033, 2057, 3081), the Normal style attributes, and the values Dictionary and Engine, which contain respectively the fully qualified paths to the .lex and .dll files. Note Not all language grammar proofing files auto-register after you copy the grammar files to a specific location. Therefore, it is always advisable to use the Setup program to install the grammar proofing files (and other proofing tools).
Why does the grammar proofing tool flag words that should not be flagged, and why does it provide suggestions that are incorrect? In general, the grammar proofing tool incorrectly marks words or proposes incorrect suggestions when the parser (that is, the grammar proofing component that analyzes the linguistic structure of a sentence) cannot determine the correct structure of the analyzed sentence. Although state-of-the-art in its category, the grammar proofing tool (just like any other commercially available grammar proofing program) is not perfect. Therefore, when you use the grammar proofing tool, you may experience some amount of "false" or "suspect" flagging and subsequent wrong suggestions; however, the grammar proofing tool in Word 2002 and later versions is vastly improved over earlier versions of Microsoft Word.
Why can't the grammar proofing tool spot mistakes in the phrase "We went two too stores, to . . ."? The grammar proofing tool is designed to catch the kinds of errors that ordinary users make every day. You can always make up sentences that may confuse the grammar proofing tool.
When the grammar proofing tool is running in the background (wavy underlines), why does it flag errors in a different order than when I click Spelling and Grammar on the Tools menu? When you click Spelling and Grammar on the Tools menu, the grammar proofing tool runs in the foreground and has control in the document. That is, you cannot work in your document while the grammar proofing tool is checking your document. However, when the grammar proofing tool is running in the background (wavy underlines), it is trying to achieve a logical left-to-right flow and is not as critical of the sentence structure as it is when you run the grammar proofing tool manually (in the foreground). Therefore, when the grammar proof tool is running in the background, the error that is marked first is always the one that returns a suggestion, regardless of its position in the sentence.
Why does "Ignore All" not work as I expect it to? For example, if I click Ignore All for this sentence, which is labeled as a fragment
After serving lunch. in the same proofing session, the grammar proofing tool stops on other sentences that are also labeled as fragments, for example:
Over my dead body. The grammar proofing tool categorizes (internally) these two sentences as different types of fragments. In these examples, the grammar proofing tool is ignoring one of those types, but not the other. Thus the apparent inconsistency in how Ignore All works.
Why aren't mistakes flagged in left-to-right sequence? In most cases, the grammar proofing tool tries to flag errors from left-to-right. In some cases, this is not possible because the grammar proofing tool wants you to correct the most logical mistake first (this mistake may not be the first mistake). In this case, punctuation or spacing mistakes are flagged before specific or confined grammar errors.
Why are some passive sentences flagged and suggested to be rewritten, and others are skipped? Note This problem occurs with other rules in addition to the Passive-construction rule. For example, the following passive sentence is not flagged:
The term of this Agreement shall commence on the Effective Date and shall continue until terminated by Volcano Coffee in writing at any time, with or without cause. For certain types of sentences, when there is no clear syntactic subject, the grammar proofing tool does not attempt to flag the sentence.
When I right-click a grammar error (an error marked with a wavy underline), why doesn't the shortcut menu display the same options that are available in the Spelling and Grammar dialog box? For example, if an item is flagged and the grammar proofing tool does not provide a suggestion, the only options available are to ignore the sentence (and possibly miss other errors in that sentence) or to click the Grammar command to invoke the Spelling and Grammar dialog box. For the background mode (wavy underlines), the grammar proofing tool uses a simplified interface. If you want to view all the possible errors in a sentence, you must click Grammar on the shortcut menu.
Why do some pairs of words that are commonly confused work in one direction only? For example, in the grammar proofing tool, both "flea" and "flee" are flagged as commonly confused words, but with the pair "your" and "you're", only the word "your" is flagged as a commonly confused word. The grammar proofing tool handles some commonly confused word pairs in a uni-directional way to simplify the problem for the parser. The grammar proofing tool was designed this way to reduce the number of items that are flagged by the grammar proofing tool but that are not true grammatical errors.
When a sentence is flagged as being too long, why is that the only advice given for the sentence? Long sentences are often difficult to read, both for people and for the grammar proofing tool. The grammar proofing tool is not sophisticated enough to detect grammatical errors in long sentences. If you are in doubt about the grammatical accuracy of a long sentence, you should break it up into smaller sentences.
Why does the check proofing tool ignore text that is enclosed in quotation marks? The grammar proofing tool assumes that text in a direct quotation should not be critiqued.
Why does the grammar proofing tool ignore text in subdocuments, such as headers, footers, and annotations? By design, the grammar proofing tool does not analyze text in headers, footers, or annotations. Headers and footers typically do not contain complete sentences. Similarly, annotations may be written in sentence fragments and are not suitable for grammar proofing.
Why can't I change the grammar and writing style option defaults, such as the sentence length? These defaults are built-in to the grammar and writing style. The grammar and writing style defaults that are built-in include:
Length of long sentence
Successive prepositional phrases
Words in split infinitives
The following table lists the specific values for the built-in grammar and writing style defaults. Style Option Built-in Setting --------------------------------------------------------- Length of long sentence 60 words Successive nouns more than 3 Successive prepositional phrases more than 3 Words in split infinitives more than 1
What do the grammar statistics mean? When Microsoft Word finishes checking spelling and grammar, it can display information about the reading level of the document, including the readability scores (see Question 20). Each readability score bases its rating on the average number of syllables per word and words per sentence. Text is rated on a 100-point scale; the higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. For most standard documents, aim for a score of approximately 60 to 70.
What formulas are these statistics based on? Flesch Reading Ease score The formula for the Flesch Reading Ease score is:
206.835 - (1.015 x ASL) - (84.6 x ASW) where: ASL = average sentence length (the number of words divided by the number of sentences) ASW = average number of syllables per word (the number of syllables divided by the number of words) Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score rates text on a U.S. grade-school level. For example, a score of 8.0 means that an eighth grader can understand the document. For most standard documents, aim for a score of approximately 7.0 to 8.0. The formula for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score is:
(.39 x ASL) + (11.8 x ASW) - 15.59 where: ASL = average sentence length (the number of words divided by the number of sentences) ASW = average number of syllables per word (the number of syllables divided by the number of words)
Who uses these reading standards? Various government agencies require that specific documents or forms meet specific readability standards. For example, some states require insurance forms to have a specified readability score.
How many words and phrases are in the grammar dictionary? The grammar dictionary includes approximately 99,000 words and phrases in their uninflected form. (That is, this number does not include words such as "went", "children", and so on, which are the inflected forms of "go" and "child".)
What is the grammar dictionary based on? It is based on the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, third edition.
How is the English grammar proofing tool different if I run it on U.K. English text versus U.S. English? The difference between proofing U.K. English text and U.S. English text is primarily in the spelling variances between the two languages. For example, "colour" as opposed to "color." These variances do not have any effect on grammar. Most of the grammar rules apply to all English text (U.S. and U.K.). However, a few grammar rules differ, depending on the selected language:
Plural premodifiers that are very commonly used in U.K. English are not flagged for U.K. English but are for U.S. English.
Subject-verb agreement with collective nouns, where the verb is used in the plural form, are not flagged in U.K. English but are flagged in U.S. English. See the following example:
The team are planning to mobilize soon.
Why don't some of the explanations seem to be related to the flagged mistake? For example, in the sentence
Lets go home now. the explanation in the grammar proofing tool does not mention specifically the confusable pair lets/let's. The grammar explanations are intended to cover the most general cases within each rule, in order to avoid crowding the screen text.
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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > Tips for proofreading and editing essays
Tips for proofreading and editing essays
Proofreading and editing your essays before submitting them is essential. You’d be surprised how many typos and grammatical errors can go undetected by spellcheck. Learn more on how you can proofread and edit your essay to earn a higher grade.
While spellcheckers are reliable, they’re not always perfect. If you want to get the grade you deserve for on your paper, you’ll need to proofread and edit it. It’s normal to need two to three drafts (or sometimes more!) before handing in your essay. Follow these proofreading and editing tips to nail your next essay.
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How to proofread and edit an essay
Re-read the prompt and requirements.
Before you pore over your essay, re-read the prompt and essay requirements from your teacher or professor. It’s easy to get carried away and go off-topic while writing an essay. It’s also easy to forget to use the right font or font size your instructor requested. By re-reading the prompt, you’ll have the requirements fresh in your mind, so you don’t lose points over preventable mistakes.
Read your essay out loud
Reading your paper aloud can help you identify choppy sentences and grammatical errors you might not have discovered if you proofread your paper silently. Make sure to read your essay out loud slowly to catch any mistakes. Once you find an error, fix it right away so you don’t get distracted and forget to fix it. You can also use the Read Aloud feature in Microsoft Word for proofreading, which will read what you’ve written out loud for you.
Read your essay from end to beginning
While reading your essay backwards might sound illogical, it’s a great way to identify spelling issues or confusing sentences. Start by reading the last sentence of your paper for errors, then move on to the second to last sentence, and so on. Reading your paper out of context can help spot any issues in your writing.
Double-check your sources
Make sure you appropriately cite all the sources in your paper. Cite your sources when you use a quote, summarize or paraphrase someone else’s idea, or share research that was conducted by someone else. Learn how to navigate different citation formats and tailor your writing to your essay’s requirements.
By re-reading your paper, you can identify sentences you may have forgotten to cite. Plagiarism can have major consequences, so avoid it at all costs.
Check the structure of your essay
An unorganized essay can feel messy and confusing. Check that you structured your paragraphs in the correct order and made seamless transitions between each paragraph. As you read through each paragraph, make sure they correspond with your thesis.
Analyze your essay’s tone
As you read through your paper, make sure the tone is formal. Scan your essay for the following examples:
- Generalizations (“all” or “many”)
- Exaggerated adjectives (“brilliant” or “genius”)
- Adverbs (“simply” or “obviously”)
- Inflammatory or emotional language (“evil” or “heartless”)
- Qualifiers (“sometimes” or “usually”)
If you find any of the above in your paper, be sure to revise: this language should be avoided in academic writing.
Take breaks while proofreading
Give yourself time to reset with a break for a few minutes (or even a few hours) while reading through your essay. You’ll pick up on any typos or issues in your paper once you return to it with a fresh mind.
Get a second pair of eyes
If you can, get a peer to review your essay. Sometimes, a third party can point out spelling errors or mechanical issues you wouldn’t have noticed on your own. They can also let you know if you accurately answered the essay prompt and made your message clear.
Proofreading and editing your essays are key to avoiding preventable mistakes and earning better grades. To continue taking your writing to the next level, check out tips for mastering the essay , brainstorming effectively , and how to build trust with your audience .
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Understanding the Proofing Options in Microsoft Word
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The spellchecker in Microsoft Word cannot replace expert proofreading, but it can be a useful tool for proofreaders. We look at this in our Becoming A Proofreader course. However, to make the most of this tool, you need to understand the proofing options in Microsoft Word .
How to Access the Proofing Options in Microsoft Word
Even if you have used the spellchecker in Microsoft Word, you may not have realized how much you can customize what it looks for and how it highlights errors.
To access these proofing options, you need to:
- Open a Microsoft Word document.
- Go to File > Options .
- Select Proofing from the list on the left of the dialog box.
In Word for Mac, meanwhile you can access similar options by:
- Going to Word > Preferences .
- Clicking Authoring and Proofing Tools and selecting Spelling and Grammar .
Here, you will see options for customizing the spellchecker, including some that apply to all Microsoft Office programs and some for Word in particular. Let’s take a quick look at both.
Proofing Settings for Microsoft Office
You can control the proofing options across all Microsoft Office programs in the section titled “When correcting spelling in Microsoft Office programs.” These include:
- The ability to ignore certain terms, including UPPERCASE TERMS and URLs.
- Flagging instances where the same word is used twice in a row.
- Options to select and customize the dictionary used for spellchecking.
Depending on the languages you have installed in your version of Microsoft Office, you may also see other language-specific options here. We’ll focus on English for now, though!
Proofing Settings for Word
The most important options for using the spellchecker effectively in Word are in the “When correcting spelling and grammar in Word” section. These include:
- Check spelling as you type – Controls whether Word will highlight errors as you type (if you deselect this, you will need to run the spellchecker manually).
- Mark grammar errors as you type – As above, but for grammar errors.
- Frequently confused words – Highlights words that it thinks may have been confused for another term (e.g., mix ups of “effect” and “affect” ).
- Check grammar with spelling – When checked, Word will check both grammar and spelling when you run a spellcheck (when unchecked, it will only check spelling).
- Show readability statistics – Provides readability stats at the end of a spellcheck.
Beneath these options, you’ll also see a “Writing Style” menu. The options here are:
- Grammar – Focuses on errors related to grammar and punctuation, such as comma splices, incorrect verb forms, or mixing up adverbs and adjectives.
- Grammar & Refinements – Also looks for potential stylistic issues, such as gendered language, excessive wordiness, or informal language.
Both options can be fully customized by clicking the “Settings” button next to the menu. This will open a new dialogue box where you can select or deselect specific issues to check.
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