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Analysing and editing text for errors and ambiguity

In this worksheet, students practise editing and proofreading texts by correcting mistakes, improving vocabulary and avoiding ambiguity.

'Analysing and editing text for errors and ambiguity' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Writing: Composition

Curriculum subtopic:   Grammar and Vocabulary Awareness

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

To edit a piece of writing means to improve it. This can involve correcting mistakes and replacing weak words with stronger ones.

Camels walking in the dessert

The hot yellow sun was shining in the sky as the tired camels went to the nice watering hole.

 

There are several weak words in this sentence that could be improved. We know that the sun is hot and yellow, so it doesn't really need to be mentioned, and 'nice' is always best avoided!

 

The sentence could be re-written something like this:

The sun blazed out of a cloudless sky as the weary camels trudged towards the welcome watering hole.

 

Editing a text can also involve removing ambiguity. An ambiguous sentence is a sentence that doesn't make its meaning clear.

Large table required for artist with folding legs.

It would be better to write:

Large table with folding legs required for artist.

Edit this sentence by correcting two spelling mistakes. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

The dogs ate there dinner and then laid down by the fire.

This sentence also has two mistakes. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

I want to where my bestest dress to the party but my mum won't let me.

This sentence does not have any errors but it uses more words than it needs to.

 

The tiny little brown puppy looked very cute as it tried to walk without falling over.

 

Tick the two words that mean almost the same as each other.

little

brown

tiny

walk

puppy

cute

This sentence also uses too many words.

 

The butterflies fluttered their vivid bright wings as they flew around the garden.

 

Tick the two words that mean almost the same as each other.

butterflies

flew

bright

wings

garden

vivid

In this sentence the phrase in bold can be replaced by a more powerful verb to make the sentence more effective.

 

The giant walked with big steps across the room.

 

Choose the best verb from the list.

Rushed

Skipped

Strode

Crept

Ran

In this sentence the phrase in bold can be also replaced by a more powerful verb to make the sentence more effective.

 

The girl was so angry that she spoke in a loud and high voice.

 

Choose the best verb from the list.

Called

Shrieked

Shouted

Mumbled

This newspaper headline is ambiguous, partly because it has had some words missed out to make it shorter.

 

Police help dog bite victim

 

Which of the two sentences below is what the author probably meant to say?

The police help a dog to bite its victim.

The police help the victim of a dog bite.

This newspaper headline is also ambiguous.

 

Stolen painting found by tree

 

Which of the two sentences below is what the author probably meant to say?

A tree has found a stolen painting.

A stolen painting has been found near a tree.

Sometimes a sentence is ambiguous because the writer does not use pronouns carefully.

 

Jamie went for a walk with his brother Paul and their dog Billy. Jamie gave him an ice cream.

 

The second sentence is ambiguous. Tick the two boxes that could contain the correct meaning.

Jamie gave Paul an ice cream.

Paul gave Billy an ice cream.

Billy gave Paul an ice cream.

Jamie gave Billy an ice cream.

The sentence here is also ambiguous because the writer does not use pronouns carefully.

 

Jade went to see Lily. She was very angry.

 

Tick the two boxes that show what the writer could have meant.

Jade was angry.

Both girls were angry.

Neither girl was angry.

Lily was angry.

  • Question 1

Edit this sentence by correcting two spelling mistakes. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

The dogs ate there dinner and then laid down by the fire.

CORRECT ANSWER
The dogs ate their dinner and then lay down by the fire.
EDDIE SAYS
Great to see you having a go at this! In this example the wrong 'their' is used. 'There' is only used when showing someone the direction or position of something. When showing belonging to a person we use 'their'.
  • Question 2

This sentence also has two mistakes. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

I want to where my bestest dress to the party but my mum won't let me.

CORRECT ANSWER
I want to wear my best dress to the party but my mum won't let me.
EDDIE SAYS
Did you spot the mistakes? The wrong form of 'where' has been used. 'Where' is a conjunction or an adverb and refers to the location of something. 'Wear' is a verb and shows what someone is wearing. 'Bestest' is also incorrect. There is no such word as 'bestest'.
  • Question 3

This sentence does not have any errors but it uses more words than it needs to.

 

The tiny little brown puppy looked very cute as it tried to walk without falling over.

 

Tick the two words that mean almost the same as each other.

CORRECT ANSWER
little
tiny
EDDIE SAYS
Great effort! Both 'little and 'tiny' have similar meanings.
  • Question 4

This sentence also uses too many words.

 

The butterflies fluttered their vivid bright wings as they flew around the garden.

 

Tick the two words that mean almost the same as each other.

CORRECT ANSWER
bright
vivid
EDDIE SAYS
Again here both 'vivid' and 'bright' have similar meanings. Remember you can use a dictionary if you are unsure of what any words mean.
  • Question 5

In this sentence the phrase in bold can be replaced by a more powerful verb to make the sentence more effective.

 

The giant walked with big steps across the room.

 

Choose the best verb from the list.

CORRECT ANSWER
Strode
EDDIE SAYS
A thesaurus can be useful here. 'Strode' means to walk with long steps. Keep up the super effort!
  • Question 6

In this sentence the phrase in bold can be also replaced by a more powerful verb to make the sentence more effective.

 

The girl was so angry that she spoke in a loud and high voice.

 

Choose the best verb from the list.

CORRECT ANSWER
Shrieked
EDDIE SAYS
'Shrieked' is the best option to use in this sentence as it means a very high pitched sound.
  • Question 7

This newspaper headline is ambiguous, partly because it has had some words missed out to make it shorter.

 

Police help dog bite victim

 

Which of the two sentences below is what the author probably meant to say?

CORRECT ANSWER
The police help the victim of a dog bite.
EDDIE SAYS
You've got this! The second option seems the most likely. It's unlikely the police would help a dog to bite someone!
  • Question 8

This newspaper headline is also ambiguous.

 

Stolen painting found by tree

 

Which of the two sentences below is what the author probably meant to say?

CORRECT ANSWER
A stolen painting has been found near a tree.
EDDIE SAYS
High five! Again here which is the most likely? Would a tree find a painting? This is very unlikely!
  • Question 9

Sometimes a sentence is ambiguous because the writer does not use pronouns carefully.

 

Jamie went for a walk with his brother Paul and their dog Billy. Jamie gave him an ice cream.

 

The second sentence is ambiguous. Tick the two boxes that could contain the correct meaning.

CORRECT ANSWER
Jamie gave Paul an ice cream.
Jamie gave Billy an ice cream.
EDDIE SAYS
In this example you have to identify who 'Jamie' gave an ice cream too. It is most likely that 'Jamie' gave his brother 'Paul' an ice cream. However it is also possible that he could have given 'Billy' an ice cream. When writing you need to be specific so that there is no confusion for the reader.
  • Question 10

The sentence here is also ambiguous because the writer does not use pronouns carefully.

 

Jade went to see Lily. She was very angry.

 

Tick the two boxes that show what the writer could have meant.

CORRECT ANSWER
Jade was angry.
Lily was angry.
EDDIE SAYS
Fantastic effort! Again here it would have been helpful for the writer to be clear and name the person who was 'angry'.
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