What are the main ideas for essay proofreading


Proofreading is vastly different from editing. It is one of two important stages that constitute the revision process of writing any essay. It requires close reading of your paper, but focuses on some very specific ideas.

Tips for proofreading:


  1. First, get some space. After you finish your first draft, walk away. Give yourself at least one day if you can away from your paper. During that day off don’t look at it, discuss it, or think about it. If you fail to do this, the essay will be all too familiar when you sit down to proofread. That creates a big problem because you may have a paragraph riddled with small errors, but because you know what you intended to write, your mind automatically replaces errors with your intended remarks. Getting distance allows you to come back at your paper without this possibility. It gives you a fresh perspective of what is on your paper. Better yet, you might ask a friend to look over it too. When you find someone else to review your paper, they are literally looking over it with fresh eyes, eyes that have never seen it before. This can be quite beneficial.
  2. Decide how you like to proofread. Some students prefer to proofread on their computer, while others need a tangible print out to hold in their hands.
  3. Alter the look of the draft to trick your brain into believing that it is viewing something for the first time. This will also help give you a fresh perspective. You can change things such as the spacing, color, or font.
  4. Find someplace free of distraction and noise in which to work. Don’t proofread while you are running on the treadmill or trying to watch your favorite recorded television show.
  5. If your paper is particularly long, break up your proofreading into a few sessions that way your mind does not start to wane midway through.

When you proofread, be sure to:


  • Look for spelling errors or things such as the wrong “their/they’re/there” or “your” in lieu of “you are”.
  • Look for grammatical errors such as using the passive voice too often, or run on sentences. You can use a grammar checker but this may not explain why something is wrong.
  • Look for one kind of error at a time, not all of them. Read over for spelling errors separately from grammatical errors.
 
 

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