Tips for Proofreading

Tips for Proofreading

All written material needs to be proofread before submitting to an audience. Here are some tips on how to proofread.

1.    As soon as you have written a first draft, walk away from it for a few hours, do other tasks, or even sleep on it before you proofread your own work.  Your mind needs a break so it is better to come back with a fresh mind and eyes.

2.    Proofread your work on printed paper and use a red pen to catch mistakes.

3.    Have people who are unfamiliar with the topic to edit your work.  They will call attention to confusing and unclear parts.  This way, your work will potentially attract a wider audience.

4.    Have a professor or someone who knows the topic revise the work.  They will help clarify certain points that may need attention.

5.    An English professor might also be helpful because they will offer more technical help with grammar and citation styles.

6.    Proofread your own work in a quiet environment.

7.    Revise the paper or article backwards.  For example, read the last sentence first and first sentence last.  This way your mind does not already know what it will read next and mistakes will be caught.

8.    When reading sentences, watch out for grammar mistakes and spelling, look at each word individually.  Proofread for tense changes, fragments, run-ons, participle agreements, inconsistencies in style and format.

9.    When editing work, watch out for:
a.    Redundancy- Using the same words over and over and using phrases like “screaming loudly” (A scream is already loud).
b.    Meta-discourse- “I believe,” “I would like to point out,” “I think that,” “It has become clear that.”  Just tell the reader the point.
c.     Using too much of a thesaurus for impressive words.  People tend to use words from a thesaurus that don’t necessarily suit the meaning of their point.

10.    Write and proofread more than one draft before submitting the final copy.

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