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How Proofreading Can Drastically Improve Your Writing

Proofreading an essay before submitting it often decides whether your paper will be severely criticized (or even regarded as an unacceptable one) or, on the contrary, praised and provided with an excellent feedback. However, despite all the pros of proofreading, many students purposefully overlook this post-writing stage.

Proofreading and editing are equally as important as writing itself. Proofreading develops your ability to focus on details and helps you learn from your own mistakes.

Before Proofreading

Before moving on to your final proofreading, make sure, you have edited the paper well in terms of content organization and logical flow as well as grammar, punctuation, spelling, and typos.

Check if all the arguments you put forward are well suited into the paragraphs where they are written. Maybe they suit best to some other paper section, so you should rearrange the paper content. Such focus on details and proper paragraph development will ensure that your paper is written according to all rules.

If there is a section of the paper that you are not satisfied with, take your time to improve it to the best you can or rewrite it entirely. You need to make sure the paper is clear, informative, and convincing. When you edit the paper, you will definitely notice areas that need improvement. If more information is needed, feel free to add, but make sure you do not exceed the required word count.

As you write rough drafts before submitting the final paper, make sure you save them all. Many students cannot wait to delete them immediately however it happens sometimes that you want to turn back to your previous draft and undo some changes. So after you have polished the paper in terms of content and organization, move on to proofreading searching for grammatical, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation errors.

Advantages of Proofreading

A process of thorough proofreading enables you to fix the mistakes that you might not have even noticed while writing. Even if you use a spell-checker, it cannot be a guarantee that your paper will be error-free. Therefore, double-check sentence structures, fragments, modifiers, and commonly misspelled words.

You can as well notice and fix grammar mistakes when you read the paper aloud. When looking through your paper, make sure to pay attention to the position of punctuation marks as very often they can change the meaning of the sentence.

Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation are crucial for a successful academic paper. If your paper is full of mistakes, your professor will surely decrease your mark, which will negatively influence on your overall academic performance.

No matter whether you find major or minor mistakes, you should address them all. You need to minimize the chances of readers’ misunderstanding the paper content. Always keep clarity and understanding of information in high regard. When you have a choice whether to use a lengthy sentence or a shorter one, always choose the latter.

If you write a paper that requires you to use outside sources, make sure that you us only reliable and credible ones and properly cite them. The information you provide should be trustworthy and taken from valid sources. Make sure you provide all necessary details when writing footnotes or reference page.

Tips on How to Proofread Your Paper

If you think that proofreading is easy and does not require any specific strategies, you are wrong. There are tips that can help you proofread the paper efficiently. For example, the very first thing you should keep in mind is to make a break between writing and proofreading. When you proofread immediately after you finished writing, you will be tired and inattentive to notice all the flaws your paper has. Moreover, you might as well try the strategy of starting to read from conclusion till the beginning of the paper.

If you need to format and organize your paper according to a specific style, for example, Harvard, it would be a good idea to read some guidelines and ask someone who is well versed in that style to provide you a feedback on the paper. It will definitely be easier for that person to find mistakes you have not noticed.  

If you want to submit a terrific paper, you should pay attention not only to writing techniques but also to proofreading ones. The key tactics of post-writing stage are the following:

  1. Print out your paper and read it. Make some comments on the margins and treat the paper as if you are a teacher and the work is written by your student. What mark would you out? What things do you pay attention to?
  2. Focus on proofreading each sentence and every line separately. See how each sentence/ paragraph sound like.
  3. If you have noticed some weak points in your writing, write them out, correct, and memorize. This strategy will help you avoid similar flaws in the future.