PROOFREADING FOR WORD ERRORS1,2


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Abstract

Summary.Proofreading (i.e., reading text for the purpose of detecting and correcting typographical errors) is viewed as a component of the activity of revising text and thus is a necessary (albeit not sufficient) procedural step for enhancing the quality of a written product. The purpose of the present research was to test competing accounts of word-error detection which predict factors that may influence reading and proofreading differently. Word errors, which change a word into another word (e.g., from → form), were selected for examination because they are unlikely to be detected by automatic spell-checking functions. Consequently, their detection still rests mostly in the hands of the human proofreader. Findings highlighted the weaknesses of existing accounts of proofreading and identified factors, such as length and frequency of the error in the English language relative to frequency of the correct word, which might play a key role in detection of word errors.

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