Proofread and Polish

Once you have a complete draft--of any assignment or piece of writing-- you should carefully proofread and polish it for final submission or presentation. The following are some of the steps and activities that can help improve the quality and sophistication of virtually any written text.

Also See:

Proofreading Tips

Cut / Combine / Substitute / Add

For each paragraph:
Cut 2-5 words
Combine 2 sentences
Substitute verbs (and all vocabulary) for precision
Add 1 sentence

Review Verbs

Check for subject-verb agreement
Check for correct tense
    Note that summarized texts / data should be in present tense
Eliminate Passive Voice
Minimize forms of "to be" and "to have"
Use precise verbs to increase specificity and interest in your writing
Try to never use the words "got", "good" or "bad"

P.I.E. Paragraph Check

Check each paragraph for cohesiveness
Make sure each paragraph focuses on one major idea
Use P.I.E. - Point (Topic Sentence); Information; Explanation

Sentence Cohesion

Look at each sentence in a paragraph carefully.
Are they logically ordered?
Can you add any transition words to help readers follow your reasoning?
Are they all clear and grammatically sound?

Read Aloud

Reading your writing aloud can help you hear the errors or problems that you might not see on the page (especially if you've been working for hours at a time on the essay, etc.)

Think Like a Reader

Once you've written a draft that says everything you want to say, try to read it as if you are the audience. Make sure all of you ideas are well-developed. Make sure all terms and jargon are well-defined. Always remember that readers can't know what you were thinking when you wrote, so you must make sure that what is on the page is accurate and accessible.


Ask a friend or colleague to read your draft. It can sometimes be more effective to NOT tell them the assignment or task, and just see what they say.

"Proofread and Polish"
Prepared By:
Katie Rodgers
University of California, Davis