Our writing lesson for today is on editing and proofreading. Even though some people use them interchangeably, they are two different stages of the writing process. Editing is the first thing you do after your first draft. Here, you reread your work to check for content, problems in grammar, good and smooth transitions between paragraphs, clarity, style, syntax, etc.
Proofreading is the final stage of the writing process; its focus should be on surface errors such as minor grammatical mistakes, wrong spellings and punctuation errors. We can’t go deep into the nitty gritty of editing and proofreading because of space constraint, but let me spend some little time to help build your proofreading skills in spelling.
Spelling mistakes could be awful, and can mar your great ideas in print. Many spelling mistakes are caused by careless haste, and so it is advisable not to only proofread difficult words, but also simple words that may have been misspelt through carelessness.
As a rule, write “ie” when the sound is long “e”; for example: grief, relieve, and believe. An exception is when “ie” is used after a “c”; eg. deceive, conceive and receive.
The second rule is to write “ei” when the sound is not a long “e”; eg. sleigh, freight and foreign. Exceptions are: friend, soldier and mischief.
Now, coming to my theme for this article, the running mate to the flag bearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia has made some statements which I disagree.
Dr. Bawumia speaking at the campaign launch of the Member of Parliament for Anyaa-Sowutuom, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway in Accra last weekend, said that President John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) do not understand what changing lives, and transforming Ghana are because nothing shows that lives are being changed, and the country is being transformed.
Contrary to this, a lot is going on, and I have plethora of examples to give, but will need only three to make my point. It was June 17, 2006, and the time was 3 p.m. I was getting ready to watch the World Cup match between Ghana and Czech Republic which was scheduled for 6 p.m. I had a telephone call from my younger brother. The news was not pleasant – our father was seriously ill.
Some weeks earlier, my father had been diagnosed with prostrate cancer, and had been discharged from the hospital. My younger brothers were with him so when I received the call, I asked them to send the old man to the Korlebu Teaching Hospital. I got to the hospital about 10 minutes before they arrived.
Sadly, we were told to send him to another hospital because there were no beds to accommodate more patients. I started pleading with the nurses to have pity on my father, but they said they couldn’t help. There were other patients whose loved ones were also pleading. My father whispered to me: “Kofi, I’m dying.” I looked into his eyes and I saw life draining out of him. I knelt down to beg the nurses on duty to put him on the floor if there are no beds. Just then, one of the patients whose family members were pleading to be admitted, died. I saw how hopeless the situation had become, and needed to take a decision. We rushed him to the Nyaho Clinic, and fortunately, he survived.
It was very painful for that family to lose their dear one because of lack of hospital beds, and that had been the plight of many people. Needless lost lives! But with the visionary leadership of President Mahama, we have a different story to tell today; over 6,000 new hospital beds nation-wide are being added to the existing ones to improve healthcare. Dr. Bawumia may not see this as transformational, but those who have painfully lost their loved ones because of lack of hospital beds, I’m sure will.
A comrade, Nana Arkoh Frempong Oware, made a fantastic analysis on how lives of farmers have been changed, and I would like to share it with you. In 2008 under the NPP, farmers were paid GHC105 for a bag of cocoa, at the same time, a bag of cement was also sold at an average price of GHC12
Under President Mahama’s government, a bag of cocoa is now GHC425 (new price of around GHC500 is yet to be announced next month). A bag of cement is now GHC30. This means that, a cocoa farmer could afford 9 bags of cement with his income on a bag of cocoa under former President Kufour’s government. But the same farmer gets about 17 bags of cement from the sale of his one bag of cocoa under the Mahama government, meaning he or she is now twice richer. Consequently, it beats my mind why any right-thinking person will say lives are not being changed.
Furthermore, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service is not synonymous with most countries in Africa. The service is mostly seen in advanced countries. But it is refreshing to mention that BRT service is being piloted in Accra, and over 250 buses have been procured for this project.
The buses have the following key features: Free wifi, centralized air-condition system, 40 passenger seats, E-payment system, special seats for pregnant women and the aged, extra space for 44 passengers, USB ports for charging of phones, special seats for persons with disabilities; and all these come with the same far as trotro. If this is not transformational, then I don’t know what else is.
The statement of the running mate of the biggest opposition party is unfortunate, and I want to believe that he said it out of ignorance or mischief, or he is being tormented by some demons of lies. Whichever way one looks at it, Alhaji Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia is wrong. Absolutely wrong. Dead wrong. Shamefully wrong.
Anthony Obeng Afrane