© Damen, 2002

20. Proofreading.

Revision is an essential part of the writing process, and I expect it of you, just as you expect it of me. By now, for instance, I've probably read this Writing Guide at least thirty times over, and never once have I failed to make changes in it—changes, I might add, for the better. No writing of any sort should ever be handed over to a reader without the author having closely and rigorously reviewed the style and presentation of the work: no "the's" or "and's" left out! No sentences without verbs! No misspellings! You must learn to be your own editor. It's one of the most valuable skills you can have in life, and one of the best reasons there is for going to school.

Let's look at it another way. Say I'm your guest at dinner and you are serving me a meal. But I can see you're not eating it. Shouldn't I wonder? What if I say to you, then, "I'll eat this but only if you eat some first!," and you refuse? Should I eat the food? If the situation were reversed, would you eat the food? It's the same with a paper. Don't "serve" me a paper you yourself haven't and can't bear to read. That is, before you ask me to read your words, take a long, hard look at them yourself! Ninety percent of what's wrong with your writing will be self-evident to you upon even the simplest review.

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