Proofread my essay

Definition

Many students have this question that proofread my essay. It is important to proofread your paper, identify and fix any errors before you submit it for grading. Typographical and grammatical errors are common in the text of papers. Proofreading also includes identifying problems in the flow of the paper (i.e. the order of ideas and thoughts), problems with writing concisely [i.e. wordiness, and imprecise language], as well as problems caused by software programs.

You can also read about Proofreading Techniques

Before submitting your paper, proofreading is usually the last thing you do. This is because professors will grade your papers based on how well you have addressed the problem of research and organized the paper, as well as the accuracy of grammar, punctuation and formatting. Research papers are not only an opportunity to improve your research skills and develop critical thinking, they also help you to become a more effective writer. Here are some strategies that you can use.

Before you proofread

  • Revision of larger text. You shouldn’t edit or proofread to make corrections on a sentence or word basis if the focus of your paper, its development and organisation, or if specific sections need to be rearranged or changed.
  • Put your paper on hold between proofreading and writing. Allow yourself one or two days between writing your paper and editing it. You will be able to identify errors more quickly. It is important to note that if you wait to the very last moment to write your essay, it will be impossible to proofread.
  • Remove unnecessary words first before you look for. Avoid using overly inflated language in your writing if you can use a phrase that is more concise. It is much easier to correct complex sentences and vocabulary than it is for simple, concise language. Identify and replace empty or repetitious phrases.
  • What to Look for. You can make mental notes of mistakes based on the comments you received from professors on the previous versions of your paper, or on papers you’ve seen in other courses. You will be able to recognize patterns more easily.
  • Check your references. Check your sources and ensure that you have properly referenced them in the bibliography. Make sure you include the title of the sources in your bibliography in the body text. Before you start proofreading, make sure to fix any omissions.
  • The goal of editing is to make your document easier to understand and read. When you proofread, this should be your main focus. Review the above text to see how you can improve your overall paper quality if your professor requests that you revise it. Revision implies there are things in the paper which need to be improved or changed. Ask for more information if the purpose of a revision cannot be determined.

Proofreading is a personal act

By tailoring your proofreading to your weaknesses, you can correct mistakes more quickly and efficiently. As an example, I tend to still make errors in subject-verb agreements. You won’t have time to look at everything. So, be honest with yourself about your usual problem areas and check each error type individually. Here’s how:

  • Consider the errors that you make. You can review the comments of your instructors about your writing or make an appointment with someone in the Writing Center to have your paper reviewed.
  • Fix those errors. You can ask your professor to help you better understand the reasons why you commit these errors so you know how to prevent them when you write.
  • Use strategies. Use strategies that you feel comfortable using to identify and correct any errors, whether they are in sentence structure, punctuation, or usage.
  • The location of your proofreading is very important. To proofread effectively and efficiently, you need to concentrate and focus. You should proofread at the quietest corner in your library if you’re easily distracted.
  • Do not try to proofread your entire paper at once. It is best to avoid proofreading your whole paper at one time. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to stay focused. It is a good idea to begin your proofreading at the start of each paper. Corrections will take more time, but it may surprise you how many errors you discover in the text you’ve already read.

The verb tenses should generally be formatted as follows, but variations may occur depending on your narrative style. Please note that all references to previous research should be in past tense.

  • Abstract–past Tense (summary of what I have done)
  • Introduction–present tense [I am describing the study to you now]
  • Literature Review – past tense (the studies that I have reviewed are already published)
  • The methodology I used to gather and synthesize data is already in the past tense.
  • The results of my research have already been found.
  • Discuss–present tense (I’m talking now to you about what I found)
  • Summary–present tense (I will summarize the research for you right now)

The Best Strategies to Strengthen Your Paper

In addition to the above mentioned, proofreading is a thorough examination of your document in order to make sure there are no errors. Proofreading can also be used to improve the quality of your work beyond correcting grammar or lexical errors. Take a step back before you start reviewing each line of your paper. Reflect on the content and see if you can improve it by considering the “big picture” aspects of writing.

Introduction. You should be looking for language that is vague, generalized, and/or does not inform the reader directly about the significance of the research. It can be unnecessary text or qualifiers, like “This study contains a substantial review of literature” [what is “significant?”]. There are several important findings [don’t argue about the importance of the findings, just state how many there are].

Research Topic. Be sure that the topic is not ambiguous or simplistic. It should also be well-defined and clearly defined. The research question and research problem should have a nuanced set of assumptions, but still challenge the reader. This guide includes the Selecting a Research Question. Consider yourself a completely unfamiliar reader. Then, evaluate your research question, the problem you’re trying to solve, and any theoretical framework. You should ask yourself whether anything is unclear or needs to be clarified or refined. These elements will be built upon in the rest of your essay, but you should introduce them clearly and succinctly.

Transitions between paragraphs. Check the entire paper for smooth transitions and a coherent narrative. Make sure that all major text transitions have headings or subheadings [if necessary] and the paragraph before the transition lets the reader know you’re about to switch to a different idea. Look for overly-long text or too many descriptions and not enough analysis and interpretation. You may need to use a lengthy paragraph to explain a complicated idea, issue or event. However, you should review it to see if the paragraph can be divided into smaller, more readable sections.

Results. Check that you did not treat any evidence as unproblematic. You should have analysed the research results critically, taking into consideration alternative interpretations and possible counter arguments. Your discussion should, in most cases, demonstrate that you have a good understanding of both the positive and supportive results and any negative or unexpected findings.

Conclusion. You should not simply restate the problem you were trying to solve and your findings. The conclusion should give the reader a feeling of closure. It should summarize all of the major points and explain why this study is important. Note that the conclusion should not exceed two or three sentences. You can reduce the length of your conclusion by condensing it. Also, be aware of information that could be cut or integrated in other sections.

Identifying Errors with Specific Strategies

After you’ve made the necessary changes to your essay and sought ways to improve its quality overall, concentrate on finding and fixing specific mistakes within the text.

  • Print out the document, and not the computer screen. Proofreading on a printed page will save your eyes the strain from staring at the computer screen. You can also easily navigate to the places where you may have made mistakes repeatedly throughout the document [for example, mispelling a name].
  • Listen to. It is also a good way to hear any problems you might not have noticed while you were reading. You can also adopt the perspective of a reader and understand your paper the way that the audience would.
  • Cover the line below the you are reading with a blank piece of paper or a ruler. This method will prevent you from missing any mistakes, and you can read your paper at a slower pace.
  • Highlight or circle every punctuation in your document. You will be forced to check each punctuation mark and confirm the purpose of each one in every sentence or paragraph. It is especially helpful if you are prone to overusing or misusing punctuation marks, like a semicolon or comma.
  • Search the search feature of your computer for mistakes. The Ctrl F [find] search feature helps identify errors more quickly. If you find that you are using the same phrase, for example “important”, or relying on it repeatedly, you may want to search and decide whether you should remove the word or phrase, change the sentence or substitute a different qualifier.
  • Check for every type of error, starting with the one that is most important. Use whatever method you find easiest to recognize each mistake. You can, for example, check the sentence for any fragments. Then, you should read it again, this time forward, to make sure that subjects and verbs are in agreement. Finally, use a search engine to find “this,” “it,” or “they,” to track down pronouns.
  • Use a spell-checker on your computer or read backwards, word by word. Spell checkers will not catch mistakes made with homophones (e.g. “they’re,” ‘their,” ‘there’) or some word-toword typos. Spell-checking can help you catch some mistakes quickly. However, it’s not a replacement for reading the entire text. The same applies to grammar checks.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. You will be able to identify mistakes if you take the time necessary to review and edit your work. Read your work slowly. You won’t be able to catch errors if you are reading the document at normal speed.
  • Have a friend read your essay. Ask a friend to read your paper in exchange for them reviewing theirs. Another set of eyes can often catch errors you might have missed.

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