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Raciocination

A color-coding process to aid in editing
by

Laura Carr

on 1 October 2012

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Transcript of Raciocination

A color-coding process to aid in editing RACIOCINATION Circle all “to be” verbs in any color (am, is, are, was, were, be, been, being). Then count all
incidences of these verbs. Next, divide by 2 (if a remainder, round up to nearest whole
number). The remaining number is the amount that will need to be eliminated (place this
number at the top of the page-right hand side). This helps particularly with moving from
passive to active voice. In any two colors underline alternating sentences beginning with the first word in each
sentence and ending with end punctuation (period, exclamation point, question mark).

Use contrasting colors (blue and red or red and green). The piece of writing should have sentences
in red/blue, red/blue….
If sentences are extremely short, look for fragments.
If sentences are unusually long, look for run-ons (and overuse of “and”).
Try compound sentences
(FANBOYS-for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) or complex sentences (before, because, after, if,
since….). In any color “X” out every incidence of very, really, a lot. These words add nor tell us
anything. Use more definite descriptors. Strokes). [Bracket] the first word in each sentence. Look at sentence beginnings (capitals) and varied beginnings. Think about using verbals, phrases, clauses to vary sentence structure (see Brush Draw a


around all incidences of “it”. Look for a more definite noun if the pronoun is not
clear. Draw a wavy ~ line under repeated words or phrases (more than 3 times repeated). Try to
eliminate or change. In the margin, number the paragraphs. This checks for multiple paragraphs and aids with
organizational strategy. Read BACKWARDS to check for spelling. Start at the end of your paper and read from
bottom to top, backwards-forwards. By reading this way, the focus is on single words and not
context. Another variation is to have students trade papers and check another student’s paper.
Don’t ever depend on spell check on the computer. Check papers several times. Now your paper is ready to move to FINAL copy
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