Proofreading Tips

Remember that proofreading is an important part of writing. While it is not a higher-order concern, it is necessary for any final drafts you turn in and can be used as a tool for strengthening your writing skills.

Also See:

Proofread Revise Polish

Why Proofread

When to Proofread

How to Proofread

Print out a copy to proofread rather than relying on a computer screen. Sometimes our minds and eyes see something differently on the screen than on the final printed copy. The printed copy is what you usually turn in, and, even if you send your paper via email, a printed copy will still show the final draft more clearly.

Keep in mind that your writing should always be in your own words and consist of your own ideas.

Do not make a correction without being sure you understand why you're making it. Use a grammar handbook to figure out how to correct your errors. What you learn early in the process will save you much more time and frustration in the rest of your college writing career.

You should proofread your paper more than once. First, proofread for any errors you can catch on the spot. Then proofread once again for each individual type of error you may make. Keep in mind common errors with which you may have a problem. While proofreading several times may seem redundant and tedious, it is the best way to catch errors and learn from them.

When using a computer software, use the spellchecker as further help, but do not rely on it completely. Remember that homophones exist, such as "complement" and "compliment" and "revue" and "review". Very often, words may be misspelled according to the context and will not be caught by the spellchecker. Proofread with a dictionary nearby to be able to reference quickly what you need to find.

Read your paper out loud from start to finish. Pay attention to natural pauses as you read, and consider whether the punctuation reflects what you are saying. There are specific rules for punctuation which sometimes are not reflected by natural pauses; however, how a sentence sounds can be a clue as to how it should be punctuated.

See proofreading marks / symbols and how to do the corrections.
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