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UE SECTION C Proofreading

instructor: agnes chan

Introduction Proofreading, one of the six questions in Section C, is difficult for candidates who are weak in grammar and usage. They find it difficult because of the following reasons: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Unable to analyze the syntax of sentences; Unable to locate and identify the errors; Unable to apply their logic to help them understand the meaning of the sentence, and Their inadequate knowledge of English grammar & usage.

The question items in proofreading can be categorized into the following 4 levels: Four Levels of Questions 1. Elementary, e.g. on Saturday, in the morning; use of articles 2. Intermediate, e.g. passive voice, tenses, prepositions, phrasal verbs, part of speech, subject verb agreement, etc. 3. Advanced, e.g. participles, verb forms, relative clauses, participle clauses, verb forms in conditional sentences, subjunctive mood, causative, independent clause as the subject. 4. Other tricky questions

SUMMARY OF SKILLS Proofreading 1. Read the whole sentence. 2. Analyze the syntactic structure of each sentence, e.g. subject, verb, verb-to-be, complement, participle clause / phrase, object, etc. 3. Locate & identify the errors. 4. Do not correct those pseudo-errors, e.g. styles of writing: changing a into the, changing the singular noun into the plural form, changing another word which carries the same meaning. These are not dead errors that can make the sentence ungrammatical. 5. Look for big & dead errors, e.g. verb form, tense, subject verb agreement, finite & nonfinite (gerund, infinitive & participle), complement, independent clause as the subject, etc.

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UE SECTION C Proofreading

instructor: agnes chan

Frequent Grammar Items in UE Proofreading Verbs: 1. verb forms, e.g. pp form after have / has / had, ing form after verb-to-be, etc. 2. Transitive & Intransitive verbs 3. passive & active voice (main verb not in p.p. form, missing of auxiliary verb be, missing of preposition by agent) 4. missing of verb-to-be before the subject complement 5. participles, participle clause 6. Subordinate clause without finite verbs (e.g. When entering the room, before entering) 7. conditional sentence verb forms (e.g. use of modal verbs, verb forms) 8. Phrasal Verbs 9. preposition + verb (gerund), e.g. 97UE No. 79 Nouns: 1. Plural noun referring to something general 2. Number in a noun, e.g. one of the resource(s), either (singular noun) or (sing. Noun) 3. Noun functioning as an adjective (hotel safe: 1997UE No. 94) Sentence Structures: 1. Sentence structures (subject, verb, clauses, direct object & indirect object) parallel structure (consistency of verb forms / tense) 2. Phrases & Clauses (Prepositional Phrase, Noun Clause, Relative Clause, Subordinate Clause, etc.) Part of Speech: 1. Part of speech, e.g. noun adjective; wrong word, e.g. destruct (correct one: destroy), comparative & superlative adjectives Prepositions: 1. Preposition (either missing / wrong use) Pronouns: 1. Pronouns (relative pronoun, reflexive pronoun, possessive pronoun, etc.) Special Expressions e.g. used to, be used to

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UE Proofreading - 2 -

UE SECTION C Proofreading

instructor: agnes chan

Quick Revision of Grammar Items


Item 1 Sentence Structures
Basic Sentence Structures Remarks 1. Subject + Verb (transitive) + Object [SVO] * SVO can be written in passive voice e.g. He has drunk a bottle of wine. (Active voice) e.g. A bottle of wine has been drunk by him. (Passive voice) * Passive Voice verb form: BE + verb (past participle) 2. Subject + Verb (intransitive) [SV] e.g. He swam alone. (Subject + v.i. + adverb) * SV cannot be written in passive voice * The verb in SV is not a verbto-be, e.g. is, am, are, etc. *Complement: Noun / Noun group, Adjective, or Prepositional Phrase

3. Subject + Verb-to-be + Complement [SVC] e.g. Agnes Chan is a tutor. (Noun) e.g. Agnes Chan is an English tutor. (Noun group) e.g. Agnes Chan is diligent. (Adjective) e.g. Agnes Chan is in her room. (Prepositional Phrase)

Sentence Types 1. Simple Sentence (Subject + 1 finite verb) e.g. Agnes Chan (Subj.) is (finite verb)an English tutor. e.g. Agnes Chan (Subj.) studies (v.i.) at City University of HK. e.g. Agnes Chan (Subj.) majors (v.t.) English (object). 2. Compound Sentence (SV + SV) e.g. Agnes Chan is an English tutor (1st clause) and (conjunction) she studies English at City University of HK. (2nd clause) 3. Complex Sentence (Subordinate Clause + Main Clause) e.g. Agnes Chan has been teaching students English (1st clause) since she was a Sixth Former. (2nd clause)

Conjunctions / Connectives? NIL

And, or, nor, for, but, so, yet joining individual words, phrases or clauses.

after, although, as, because, before, how, if, once, since, than, that, though, till, until, when, where, whether, and while showing the relationship between sentences.

Item 2 Phrases & Clauses

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UE SECTION C Proofreading

instructor: agnes chan

Phrases & Functions 1. Noun Phrase Function (1): Subject, (2) Object, (3) Direct Object, (4) Subject Complement, (5) Object Complement, (6) Adverbial

Examples F(1): A university student majors the subject s/he likes. (Subj.) F(2): He hit a university student. (Obj.) F(3): He gave a university student a campus map. (Direct Obj.) F(4): She is a university student. (Subj. Comp.) F(5): I regard him a university student. (Obj. Comp.) F(6): This semester will end next week. (Adverbial)

2. Prepositional Phrase F(1): Ive read a book about cooking. (adj. After noun) Function (1) adjective F(2): You will be happy with your new arrangement. (adv. After after a noun, (2) adverb noun) after an adjective, (3) F(3): The cockroach is hiding under the table. (adv. Of place) adverb of place, (4) F(4): I will have a meeting with Rodney in the morning. (adv. Of adverb of time, (5) time) adverb of manner. F(5): In my opinion, we should hold more activities for students this year. (adv. Of manner) Clauses & Functions 1. Non-finite Clause F(1): subject of sentence F(2): show another action F(3): direct object F(4): show time F(5): show role of subj. 2. That-clause F(1): Subject F(2): Object *The that here can help make the independent clause into a dependent clause / noun clause. 3. Wh-Clause Clauses start with whword, e.g. what, who, when, whom, how, where Examples F(1): Thinking about how to teach students better is his usual practice. (gerund as the subj. of the sentence) F(2): He helped me send a letter to Mr. Smith. (another action) F(3): I like dancing. (direct object) F(4): Punished by Mr. Lee, he felt very guilty. (role of subject)

F(1): That he leaves Hong Kong is his final decision. (Subj.) F(2): I know that George wanted to copy Henrys assignment to his. (Obj.)

F(1): Subject of a sentence: Why she made this decision was understandable. F(2): Object of a sentence: A tourist asked me where Hong Kong Cultural Center was.

Clauses & Functions Examples 4. Relative Clause (who): The man who is sitting next to my friend is my uncle. Modify the preceded (whom): The man whom you are talking to is very nice.
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UE SECTION C Proofreading

instructor: agnes chan

noun () Relative pronouns: Who (subj.), whom (obj.), that (subj / obj.), Which, whose

(preposition + whom): The girl with whom you are discussing the issue is kind. (Original: You are discussing the issue with the girl) (which): The notes which Agnes typed to me are quite useful. (in which): The theatre in which you performed in is very big. (Original: You performed in the theatre.) (whose): Mrs. Wu whose daughter has taken HKCEE is very poor. (Original: Mrs. Wus daughter has taken HKCEE.)

5. Subordinate Clause Function: provide more information about the time, place, condition, purpose, manner that things happen.

(time): When you came back home, you had to finish all the tasks. (place): Staying in New York, she didnt feel secured. (condition): If you have got a cold, you cant go to the party tonight. (purpose): To get good results in the test, he revised all the chapters of the textbook last night. (manner): Karen gave a blind eye to George, as if he had done something wrong to her. (manner---showing attitude, how something is like.)

Item 3 Parts of Speech


Parts of Speech 1. Noun [] 1.1 Concrete Noun [] 1.2 Abstract Noun [] --- ideas 1.3 Count Noun [] ---singular & plural form [ ] 1.4 Uncountable Noun [] --singular only! Examples Computer, printer, bottle, water, disks, teddy bear, cassette tapes, mouse, keyboards, etc. Feminism, Racism, pollution, dignity, humiliation, immigration, exploitation, etc. Computer, printer, bottle, disks, teddy bear, cassette tapes, mouse, keyboards, words, books, pens, etc. Water, sand, salt, sugar, light, air, information, research, etc.

Parts of Speech Examples 1. Noun [] (continued) 1.5 Singular Noun Computer, mouse, monitor, a disk, a bottle, a pen, a ruler, person, alumnus, phenomenon, etc. [] 1.6 Plural Noun
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Computers, mouse, monitors, disks, bottles, pen, ruler, people,


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[] 2. Verb [] 2.1 Finite Verb The first verb element in a verb group, showing the tense & no. of agreement. 2.2 Non-finite Verb (gerund, infinitive, participle)

alumni, phenomena, etc.

She does not want to go to school. She wants to go shopping with her husband. She was having her lunch at 3:30 p.m. She had submitted the loan for her tuition fees. (Gerund): Hiking is my favorite hobby. (To-infinitive): She wants to go shopping with her husband. (bare infinitive): She suggested me write a letter to my teacher to make the application of this scholarship. (present participle): She was having her lunch at 3:30 p.m. (past participle): My brother has broken the vase. (perfect participle): Having been to the UK for more than 3 months, I have got used to the life there. Being a successful English tutor is not easy. (subj.) I dont like talking on the phone. (obj.) (to-infinitive) I want to be an excellent language teacher in Hong Kong. (bare infinitive) Please let me know your difficulties. i) I have been swimming in this pool for 2 hours. (Present Participle) ii) I have swum in this pool for 2 hours. (Past Participle) iii) Having swum for 3 hours, I felt very exhausted. (Perfect Participle)

2.2.1 Gerund verb + ing => Verbal Noun [] 2.2.2 Infinitive i) To-infinitive ii) Bare infinitive 2.2.3 Participles i) Present Participle ii) Past Participle iii) Perfect Participle 2.3 Modals 2.4 Auxiliary Verbs

Can, could, may, might, shall, should, ought to, need, care, must, have to, will, would, may, might, etc. Do, does, did, done; be, is, am, are, was, were, being, been; have, has, had

2.5 16 Verb Forms

1) 2) 3) 4) writing

Present Simple write Present Continuous is / am / are writing Present Perfect has / have written Present Perfect Continuous has / have been

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UE SECTION C Proofreading

instructor: agnes chan

5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) writing

Past Simple wrote Past Continuous was / were writing Past Perfect had written Past Perfect Continuous had been writing Future Simple will write Future Continuous will be writing Future Perfect will have written Future Perfect Continuous will have been writing Past Future Simple would write Past Future Continuous would be writing Past Future Perfect would have written Past Future Perfect Continuous would have been

3. Adjective [] 3.1 Positive Form Beautiful, convenient, clear, loud, soft, strong, weak, bad, good 3.2 Comparative Form More beautiful, more convenient, clearer, louder, softer, stronger, weaker, worse, better 3.3 Superlative Form The most beautiful, the most convenient, the clearest, the loudest, the softest, the strongest, the weakest, the worst, the best 4. Adverb [] 4.1 Adverb of Place In the building, at home, at school, in the jungle, in the office 4.2 Adverb of Time In the morning, at noon, at midnight, at 4:30 4.3 Adverb of Manner Beautifully, conveniently, clearly, loudly, fast, quickly, well 4.4 Adverb of Degree Very much, so, quite, rather, pretty, less, more 5. Preposition [] In, on, at, from, against, about, concerning, beside, behind, under, with, beneath, between, into, onto, to, etc. 6. Article [] A F(1): a computer, a cup, a printer, a table, a desk, etc. F(1): any one of a particular thing F(2): Ill be in the UK for a year. F(2): before singular count noun F(3): words begin with consonant sounds Please wait for a minute. Ill come back to your question later. F(3): a university // , a oneparent family // An F(1): an orphan //, an F(1): words starting with a vowel sound F(2): same as the Function (1 ~ 2) of a The F(1): Beijing is the capital city of China. F(1): something unique F(2): Charlene Choi is the youngest female singer F(2): before a superlative adjective holding her first concert in The Hong Kong F(3): there is only one of a particular thing Coliseum. F(4): a thing / person that is modified by a F(3): the sun, the North Pole, the world, the relative clause (i.e. a particular thing) international market, etc.
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UE SECTION C Proofreading

instructor: agnes chan

F(5): with phrases beginning of / The of F(6): a thing / person mentioned in the 2nd time

F(4): The teacher who teaches us English is very nice. F(5): Do you know the meaning of these new words? F(6): I put a coin into a cup, and the coin sinks. F(1): I always like hearing good news. (= good news in general) Lazy students like finding excuses for their laziness. (= excuses in general; lazy students in general)

Zero F(1): uncountable and plural nouns

7. Conjunction 7.1 Co-ordinating Conjunction 7.2 Subordinating Conjunction

Joining words, phrases or independent clauses And, or, so, but, nor, for, yet Indicating the nature of the relationship among the independent clause(s) and the dependent clause(s) after, although, as, because, before, how, if, once, since, than, that, though, till, until, when, where, whether, and while.

8. Pronoun [] 8.1 Personal Pronoun 8.1.1 As subjects 8.1.2 As objects 8.1.2 As adjectives 8.2 Possessive Pronoun 8.3 Indefinite Pronoun

8.4 Reflexive Pronoun

I, you, we, they, he, she, it Me, you, us, them, him, her, it My, your, our, their, his, her, its Mine, yours, ours, theirs, his, hers, its One, other (plural), the other (1 out of 2, singular), the others (the left people / things), others (other people / things) another (singular), someone (singular), everybody (singular), anybody (singular), neither (singular / plural), all, many, etc. Myself, yourself, yourselves, ourselves, themselves, himself, herself, itself. e.g. Although Sandy is an 8-year-old girl, she takes care of herself.
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instructor: agnes chan

8.5 Demonstrative

8.6 Interrogative Pronoun

8.7 Relative Pronoun

This referring to a specific thing / person (singular) That referring a thing / person that is away from us. (singular) These referring to specific things / people (plural) Those referring to things / people away from us. (plural) Whom Object of a sentence Who Subject Which a specific thing / person from a class What a specific thing / person Whose the agent who owns a thing / person When time Where place How manner That a person / thing, a subject / object; only used in defining clauses. Which a particular thing Whose a agent who owns a thing / person Whom Object of the relative clause Who Subject of the relative clause

Item 4 Conditional Sentences


Types 1. Real situation If + verb (Present Simple), will + verb Examples If you listen (Present Simple) to this smooth jazz music, you will be (will + verb) more relaxed. If you press (Present Simple) this button, you will print (will + verb) out the document. 2. Impossible thing If I were you, I would not react so violently. If + verb (Past Simple), + If you listened to him, you would not do such a silly thing. would + verb 3. Hypothesis / If I had finished typing the document, I would not have been something in the past worried about it. If + verb (Past Perfect), + If the teacher had been ill, I would not have attended his lecture. would have + verb (p.p.)

Item 5 Active Voice Vs. Passive Voice


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Passive Voice Verb Structure:

be + verb (past participle) e.g. is + written (past participle of write) Passive Voice Is / are written Is / are being written Has / have been written Has / have been being written Was / were written Was / were being written Had been written Had been being written Will be written Will be being written Will have been written Will have been being written Would be written Would be being written Would have been written Would have been being written

Verb Forms Present Simple Present Continuous Present Perfect Present Perfect Continuous Past Simple Past Continuous Past Perfect Past Perfect Continuous Future Simple Future Continuous Future Perfect Future Perfect Continuous Past Future Simple Past Future Continuous Past Future Perfect Past Future Perfect Continuous

Active Voice Write Is writing Has / have written Has / have been writing Wrote Was / were writing Had written Had been writing Will write Will be writing Will have written Will have been writing Would write Would be writing Would have written Would have been writing

Item 6 Participle Clause


Types Present Participle Clause F(1): continuous action F(2): immediate action followed by the main clause F(3): describe a persons feelings / characteristics Past Participle Clause F(1): passive voice Examples F(1): Swimming in the pool, she discovered that she had forgotten to bring the shampoo and conditioner. (= When she was swimming in the pool) F(2): Seeing some blood on her clothes, she fainted. (= After seeing some blood on her clothes) F(3): Being interested in reading books, she is smart and knowledgeable. (= Because she is interested in reading books) F(1): Cheated by her classmates this morning, Jenny was very unhappy. (= Because Jenny was cheated by her classmates)

Perfect Participle F(1): Having had our dinner, we went to the Arts Gallery. Clause (= After we had had our dinner) F(1): Action happened before that in main clause F(2): Having been scolded by his mum for 2 hours, Jack felt Perfect Participle very sorry. (= After Jack had been scolded by his mum for 2 hours) Clause in PASSIVE F(1): Same as the active Having been trained for 3 years, he became skilful in doing this voice one job. (= After he had been trained for 3 years)
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Participle Clause after a The man employed in 1993 has been fired by Francis last Friday. Noun to modify the (= who was employed in 1993) noun My niece, drawing a colorful picture to me, is very diligent. (= who is drawing a colorful picture to me) *** WARNING: The subject in the Participle Clause and main clause MUST BE the same person, and the subject in the main clause CANNOT be an inanimate subject. [] []

Item 7 Question Tags


Types +ve verb + Negative Tag assuming other people agree with you. (TONE: falling tone in the question tag) -ve verb + Positive Tag showing suspicion / doubt / uncertainty (TONE: rising tong in the question tag) Examples You like playing ICQ, dont you? (like + negative tag: dont you) She has applied for her first job, hasnt she? (has applied + negative tag: hasnt she) George is teaching well today, isnt he? (is teaching + negative tag: isnt he) You dont like playing ICQ, do you? (dont like + positive tag: do you) She hasnt applied for her first job, has she? (hasnt applied + positive tag: has she?) George isnt teaching well today, is he? (isnt teaching + positive tag: is he)

7 Common Grammar Errors


1. Run-on Sentence
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UE SECTION C Proofreading

instructor: agnes chan

Wrong: English grammar was the first thing that I encountered when I was in primary school, I didnt think that it did any harm to me, because I loved studying grammar, living with grammar, reading English books to improve my grammar. Right: English grammar was the first thing that I encountered when I was in primary school. I didnt think that it did any harm to me, because I loved studying grammar, living with grammar, reading English books to improve my grammar. Explanations The first sentence is wrong because the sentences English grammar primary school and I didnt thinkmy grammar are not linked together by any conjunctions or connectives. The first sentence contains 1 main clause plus two other clauses: relative clause & subordinate clause. The second sentence contains 1 main clause plus a subordinate clause telling the reason that I loved studying grammar. If these 2 sentences do not have any relationship in meaning (e.g. cause & effect, concession, etc.), they should not be written in ONE sentence. If they are, they will be regarded as Run-on sentences.

2. Fragment Sentence
Wrong: Although I am hungry. Right: Although I am hungry, I dont want to eat anything. Explanations The first sentence is wrong because it is NOT a complete sentence. It is called Fragment sentence. This kind of sentences are usually dependent clauses, i.e. Although + clause; Because + clause; Since + clause, etc. Here are more examples of fragment sentences: e.g. Because he is still young. e.g. Since he lived in this flat. e.g. Before he went out to have a walk. To identify this kind of errors, you can ask yourself after you have written these clauses, for example, Because he is still young (so?); Since he lived in this flat (what happened then?); Before he went out to have a walk (what had he done?). If there is no answer after these sentences, you can be sure that the clauses are fragment sentences.

3. Independent Clause as the Subject of a sentence


Wrong: He puts so much effort in answering our questions impresses most of us.
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UE SECTION C Proofreading

instructor: agnes chan

Right: That he puts so much effort in answering our questions impresses most of us. Right: The fact that he puts so much effort.impresses most of us. Right: He puts so much effort questions. This impresses most of us. Explanations The main clause of the first sentence should be [Subject + impresses most of us]. The subject is [he puts so much effort in answering our questions]. However, this sentence is ungrammatical because the subject here is NOT a noun / noun group. Its a clause instead. Therefore, to make this sentence grammatical, we have to change the clause [He puts so much questions] into a noun / noun group. We can make the sentence in the above example in the following three ways: 1. Change clause [he putsquestions] into a noun group by adding That. i.e. Change the independent clause into a nominal clause (noun clause) 2. Add The fact that to change the clause into a noun clause. 3. Split this long sentence into two. Use This to refer back to the WHOLE idea: [He puts so much effort in answering our questions.]

4. Singular Countable Noun Without an Article


Wrong: Computer is widely used in the world. Right: Computers are widely used in the world. Right: A computer is widely used in the world. Explanations The first sentence is ungrammatical because [computer] is referred to something general. When the noun is a singular countable noun and when we want to use that noun to say something general, we should either use the singular form with an article or use the plural form. See the right examples.

5. Active & Passive Voice


Case 1: Wrong: This picture is not liked by me. Right: I dont like this picture. Right: This picture doesnt please me. Explanations There is no passive voice when you use verbs: like, hate, love, dislike, realized, admired, forget, in your sentences. You have to change the verbs if you want to keep the subject (see right sentence 2). You can change it by changing by me into the
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subject I, and write the sentence in an active voice.

Case 2: Wrong: They were go to the Gallery yesterday. Right: They went to the Gallery yesterday. Explanations [go] is a finite showing tense, number of agreement as well as showing actions, i.e. what you did yesterday. Therefore, adding were (auxiliary verb) is unnecessary and redundant.

6. Existential Sentences
Wrong: There have (had) many cockroaches on my bed! Right: There are (were) many cockroaches on my bed! Explanations The word [there] is in fact a dummy subject, i.e. it doesnt have any actual meaning. We use [there] because we want to show the existence of the later subject, e.g. many cockroaches in this sentence. The use of verb [are] is dependent on the subject afterwards. Therefore, if the subject is many cockroaches, we have to use a verb in plural form. If the subject is a girl, we have to use the singular verb, is, instead.

7. Pseudo-tough movement
Wrong: I am difficult to learn English. Right: It is difficult for me to learn English. Right: To learn English is difficult for me. Explanations The first sentence is ungrammatical because the complement [difficult] is mistakenly used to modify the subject I. But in fact, we want to say, learning English is difficult for me, but not I am difficult.
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To correct this sentence, you can ask yourself, What is difficult for me? This what question leads us to find out to learn English is the actual difficulty for us. Therefore, you can write something like, It is difficult for me to learn English. Or, you can relocate the [to-infinitive clause] to learn English to be the subject of the sentence. We come to another correct example, To learn English is difficult for me.

Syntactic Analysis & Past Paper Review (199UE)

Syntactic Analysis in Proofreading + Past Paper Analysis (2 in ONE!)

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