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University of Houston - Victoria
A Personal Editing Log

Learning to recognize grammar errors and knowing how to correct them is an important part of producing a professional document. Contrary to popular opinion, most executives these days don’t have secretaries who edit their work for them, and recent research suggests that computer programs that check grammar and spelling are grossly inaccurate, so proofreading and editing are important skills for all professionals to have.

 

The editing log is a way for you to track and eliminate your own individual grammar and punctuation bugaboos so you can focus on eliminating them. You work particularly on your own problems and don’t have to worry about your neighbor’s.

First, the log will allow you to track the number of errors you might have (and we all have them).

 

Second, it will ask you to name the type of error (ask a tutor for help if you’re not sure—an important part of solving any problem is being able to name it). You might be surprised to find a pattern in your errors. Often writers find that they are making only one or two types of errors. So they only have to learn one or two rules to vastly improve their grammar and punctuation.

Finally, it will encourage you to rewrite the sentence that contains the error in order to make the correction immediately. We also encourage you to look up and learn any rules that might apply to fixing the error, so you can, over time, eliminate the error pattern completely from your writing.

 

The bottom of this page contains a sample editing log, but you can create your own if you wish. You might, for instance, want to leave space to write the down the rule for correcting the error (maybe even paraphrase it, so that you put it into terms that make sense to you), to write down tips for identifying the problem (where it typically happens, for instance), or to write more than one possible correction of the sentence.

 

How to Use the Editing Log

  1. Go through your paper and highlight (or underline) all your grammar and punctuation errors.
  2. Number them consecutively throughout your paper.
  3. Transfer the number of each error to one of the cells in the first column on the editing log. You may also wish to copy the sentence (as it appears in your paper) into the cell.
  4. Identify the type of error and write its name in the second column.
  5. Rewrite the sentence correctly in the last column. Remember there are often several possible solutions to grammar problems. You might want to write more than one correct solution and increase your language flexibility.

Sample Log

Error Number
Type
Possible Correction