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Proofreading for Confusing Words

Finding Wrong Words

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As you know, proofreading is an essential step in preparing any written assignment. Many people depend on spell checkers to do some of their proofreading, and that is fine. But spell checkers do not find many kinds of mistakes. One error that they can’t help you with is word mix-ups.

A spell checker won’t be able to alert you to some of them most common problems in writing: those words we confuse a lot. To and too, I and me, dear and deer, accept and except—these are the most commonly confused words. Even though you may fully understand and know the difference in meaning between these words, you can make a careless mistake.

As part of your essay construction process, you should do a periodic search of your text to find these words. You can double check to make sure you’ve used them correctly.

To do a word search in Microsoft Word:

1. Go to the Edit menu.
2. Select Find.
3. Type one of the confusing words into the search box.
4. Select Find Next.
5. Check each word that the word-finder locates to make sure the context is correct.

This can be a time-consuming process, but it is one of those extra steps you can take to make sure your work lives up to your potential. After all, little, careless mistakes can add up and be quite costly!

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