Written by Pat Wootton, PromptProofing.com
How are your proofreading skills? See if you can spot the error in the following 10 sentences.
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How are your proofreading skills? See if you can spot the errors in the following sentences.
(Answers below - don't scroll too fast!)
1. Try our full-proof weight loss system.
2. In the interest of the environment we should all try to use less plastic bags.
3. You got a puppy? What's it's name?
4. After eating our lunch, the coach departed.
5. (Sign seen in a vehicle licensing office):
We are dealing with a high volume of customers right now. Thank you for your patients.
6. Hidden under the mattress, the burglar found the cash.
7. (Watching hockey on TV):
"Wow that's two goals now!" "Two goals to who?"
8. After lying undiscovered for over two millennia, archaeologists discovered Tutankhamun's tomb.
9. Queensland has been seriously effected by the recent floods.
10. I walked passed that house just yesterday.
1. Full-proof - it sounds the same as foolproof, but it's not!
2.Bag is a countable noun and therefore should use 'fewer' rather than 'less'.
3. 'It's' represents a contraction of it and is. In this case we want to show possession so you should use 'its', without an apostrophe.
4. Dangling modifier - this only works if the coach is a person (not a bus) and he ate everyone's lunches, not just his own. Greedy coach!
5. 'Patients' refers to a group of people who, for example, are waiting to see a doctor. In this case, the correct word would, of course, be 'patience'.'Patience' is an abstract noun meaning the quality of being patient.
6. Was the burglar hidden under the mattress? Or the cash? This is another example of a dangling modifier.
7. When used as an indirect object, 'who' should become 'whom'.
8. Dangling modifier again - this makes it sound as though the archaeologists lay undiscovered for over two millennia. Hardy people!
9. Effect is a noun; affect is a verb. Queensland was affected by the floods.
10. "Passed" is the past tense of the verb "to pass". Past is an adverb, modifying the verb - in this example - "to walk" (I walked past).
Pat Wootton is originally from England and is a former high school English teacher. Having spent many years in the Caribbean, where she raised her family, she now lives in Vancouver, BC. In addition, she has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for several years after earning a diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of British Columbia. She now owns and runs Prompt Proofing, a copy editing and writing service that caters to individuals and partners with marketing and public relations companies.