The 19 Best Proofreading Strategies to Improve Your Writing

It’s the last hurdle in your race for the deadline and is crucial to creating an impressive document. How do you proofread efficiently and effectively?

You can also hire essay proofreader from Proofreading and Editing Service, USA.

Take a breath. Whether it’s an article, essay, thesis or dissertation, you should always take time to breathe. Here’s your “how to proofread”, one-stop guide.

Here are 19 proofreading tips and tricks to help you improve your writing and get the best marks. After all your hard work, do not let careless errors drag down your essay and your grade! down!

What is proofreading and editing?

What is “proofreading?”

It is not difficult to tell the difference between proofreading and editing.

  • editing involves refining your writing’s quality, tone and word count. It also involves improving its clarity, readability, and clarity.
  • proofreading is done on your final draft once your content has been structured, signed off and feels awesome.

Check that all elements are consistent, correctly presented and error-free. Remember: punctuation and spelling, formatting, references, citations and figures.

Proofreading will help you avoid having your exam examiner distracted by an unprofessionally presented document.

Proofreading: 19 Killer Strategies

It’s a long process. You don’t have to be overwhelmed.

These top 19 strategies for proofreading are divided into three sets: mindset and preparationchecking each element and maximising your tools of proofreading.

Part 1: Prepare yourself and your mind for success

1. Give yourself ample time

If you do, good luck. ).

Our first strategy for proofreading is about the time.

It can take a lot of time to find and fix small mistakes. The longer the essay, dissertation or thesis, the more time it will take.

You’ll also need to give them enough time to do their job if they’re going to be a friend or a professional.

I think it is best to allow yourself at least a week of proofreading and editing – or more! You’ll then have the time you need to…

2. Before you begin, take a short break.

You need to have a fresh mind and eye to accurately proofread.

It’s better to concentrate on what’s on the page than anticipate the content you have written.

Don’t go straight from proofreading to writing – Take a Break.

Take a break from writing your thesis or essay for a couple of days if you are able to. Take a walk around the corner or have a cup of coffee if you can’t. Clear your head and prepare to concentrate.

Don’t forget short breaks when proofreading long assignments!

Ready? You’re ready to jump in!

3. Proofreading is a mindset

Now is the time to get your proofreading cap on!

try to separate “you” from the person who wrote the essay. Pretend you are marking the essay of a friend who you would like to see get high marks.

It is possible to create a psychological distance by going to a new location.

Move to another desk, armchair, library, quiet area in your favorite coffee shop, etc.. You’ll need to focus, so make sure you have a distraction-free environment.

You could wear another hat if you want to really go all out on it! When we act or look differently, our minds can be sent powerful messages that they should think differently.

4. You can print it out

Here is the proofreading technique I use every time:

It is easier to read closely on a printed page than it is when the text appears on a screen. Many people (including me!) find that it is easier to focus on text on paper than on screen. Grab a stack of papers, grab a brightly colored pen and find a comfortable spot.

You can give yourself a little slack, even though I understand that we should all do our part to reduce the amount of printing in order to save the environment. You can recycle all your printed materials after you are done.

Why not read your essay out loud?

5. You can calm your eyes by slowing down.

Our eyes jump when we read. These are called ” Saccades”.

Our eyes do not focus on each word. They focus only on one point every few words. This means that some words are only visible in the peripheral vision. You will notice that most of your words are in the peripheral vision if you quickly read your essay.

It’s very easy to forget things. You fill in the details with your peripheral vision and make assumptions about correctness.

To proofread efficiently, it is important to slow your eyes down so that you can focus on every word.

You can use these techniques to read slowly and methodically:

  • As you read, use your finger or pen to trace each word.
  • Have a ruler, or a piece of paper handy to reveal only one row per page.

It’s amazing how many mistakes you make!

6. Backward reading

Are you still struggling to slow down? Another way to ensure you’re proofreading carefully is by using this strategy:

Read your essay backwards!

It’s not as difficult as it sounds.

Our brains can trick us by reading the correct spelling of a sentence based on context. The word that we “expect” to appear should then be the next one.

You can solve the problem by reading backwards each sentence in the paragraph. Starting with the last word in the paragraph, move backwards to the beginning. You will be able to find all the misspelled words!

Psst: Here’s a good proofreading tip if your handwritten essay is not spell-checked (e.g. in an examination). This is especially useful if you are prone to spelling mistakes.

7. You should know yourself

This is our final strategy for getting you ready and into the groove:

Be sure to be aware of your most frequent errors when you write. Make a check-off list!

You can check your institution’s guidelines, consult your lecturer or teacher, or use the Chicago Manual of Style style guide to find out the right way to write something.

The second part of the article explains how to check every single element within your dissertation, essay or thesis.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the number of things that need checking for accuracy? Don’t be. This is possible!

8. This is the big one: structure

Take the time to check that everything remains in the correct order! Introduction, Part 1, Analysis … etc!

You can easily copy and paste sentences or paragraphs, resulting in them existing twice. It’s also possible for paragraphs that have been edited to abruptly end in the middle of a sentence…

We’ve done it all!

Signposting your essay can be a crucial step in editing. Signposting can also produce references which are important and must be accurate for your editor to understand! This is when you write “Section Two“, or “As mentioned in the previous three sections“.

After you have checked that the flow of your project is logical, it’s now time to focus on small details.

9. Grammar, spelling and punctuation

When proofreading an essay, the first thing you should do is check for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Check that:

  • Use the correct capitalisation when you write?
  • Expanded all acronyms The first time that you use them
    • The British Broadcasting Corporation can be called the BBC

There are many types of mistakes you can make. I won’t list them all. Here are a few examples of mistakes you might see in your writing to help get you going.

  • It is possible to misspell words that have a real meaning (but are spelled differently), e.g. field, and file. These words won’t be picked up by your spellchecker!
  • Words that are commonly confused, including homophones and apostrophes :
    • is, and is
    • Your is
    • there is are, and
    • Effect and Effect
    • principle
  • Consistency of tenses within sentences
  • Verbs that agree with their subject
  • Use commas, semicolons and apostrophes correctly
  • Does every sentence have a full-stop at the end?

10. From headers to Italics

The next strategy for proofreading is based on appearances.

consistency and correct formatting are important for proofreading your thesis, essay or dissertation.

If you are writing an assignment that is more complex, such as a dissertation or thesis, you may have received a guide on acceptable format for submission from your institution. It can be your friend!

There are many elements which contribute to your document’s layout:

  • Subheadings are also called headings.
    • Do you capitalize them?
    • What typeface and style are they to have?
    • Do they number them (consistently?)
  • Paragraphs
    • Do you give them an indentation or justification?
    • Do you use the same paragraph break?
  • Font sizes
    • Make your own Style Guide page, with fonts for body, figures, headings and subheadings!
  • Page breaks, margins and page numbers
    • Do they meet the standards for binding and printing your thesis?
    • Does your page number continue after blank pages?
    • Do you have any pages that only contain 1-2 lines? These pages should be avoided!
  • Italicisation
    • Is there a rule in your discipline that you must follow when using italics or not?
    • Did you mean to capitalizese or has it expanded beyond that phrase?
  • Common formatting mistakes:
    • Double space
    • Spaces before punctuation.
    • Mixing en-dashes with hyphens, m-dashes or hyphens

11. Citations and references

Referencing is something that makes me cringe. This is a very meticulous, precise job. It’s worth it to do things right, you don’t want the plagiarism police knocking on your door.

  • Ask your teacher or supervisor for advice if you are unsure. If you are unsure, ask your supervisor or teacher for help.

Check your references to ensure they match your bibliography. should be used to format and reference quotations.

When proofreading your work, don’t overlook the small details.

  • Do you space or not your initials? (e.g. C.S. Lewis vs C. S. Lewis
  • What date format do you use? (e.g. July 27th, 1854 and September 27th, 1854 are compared to (27/08/1854).
  • Are your footnotes and endnotes in the correct order?
  • Are there any references in the text to endnotes, footnotes and/or other sources that are outdated?

It may be simpler to proofread your essay separately, depending on the format you use to reference your sources.

12. Tables and figures

Don’t overlook captions or placement when you have charts, tables and figures.

This could be another place that is hiding outdated references in text, especially if you have been working on your document’s structure. Look for places where you’ve said things such as ” See Figure 6“. Are these numbers correct?

Do not let mistakes cost you grades!

13. Consistency is important

The next strategy we will use to proofread is important!

Keeping your style consistent throughout your essay is more important than making stylistic choices.

  • 14. Check twice after every tweak

The last and final tip on how to check your entire essay for errors is…

The single most important thing that I have learned in proofreading essays is to be extremely, ultra and incredibly cautious about any errors that may creep into the essay after editing.

It happens: You’re doing your last proofread, just before submitting the work. A clunky phrase that you could fix with a little editing pops up. The change is made, but you don’t double-check it, so the mistake remains.

You can make small changes in proofreading, but you should check your amended paragraph twice afterward!

You can pause your proofreading phase to edit the essay. After you have completed all edits, return to the proofreading phase for accuracy.

Use the tools available

It is important to use the available tools to help you proofread. There are many services and tools available to help you with proofreading.

  • 15. Word: How to get the best out of its editing features

You can easily proofread your thesis or essay if you have typed it in Word.

It’s also not just about the spellcheckers and grammar checkers, although these are great places to begin:

  • Make all the necessary corrections to all of those words and phrases that are underlined in green or red.
    • They’ll only catch a few (but not all) errors. You’ll need to be alert to homophones, misspelled words and other mistakes.
    • You’ll need to make a judgement call sometimes.
    • How else can Word assist you in proofreading thoroughly?
      • It is important to set your Language properly. US and UK English are very different!
      • The “Navigation bar” (Ctrl+F), features can be used to Search for overused or common words Find synonyms by using the thesaurus. ).
        • Use the Navigation Bar to quickly count down through the numbered sections and ensure you do not have Section 1.1.1 on your page twice.
      • Install your Text preferences Your pronunciation (such as ‘-ise vs -ize’) font style preferences You can easily correct any inconsistencies or format the headings.
        • Creating your own style guide can help you see how everything looks together
      • The “Track Changes”, “Comments”, and “Pictures” functions can help you make all those tiny corrections if your friend is helping to proofread, or you are the proofreader!

16. Take advantage of Grammarly’s proofreading service

You can also use this tool for proofreading essays, dissertations and any other piece of written work! Grammarly is a great tool to help you proofread your essays and dissertations – or any piece of writing!

Grammarly is a new addition to my arsenal of writing tools. I wish I had done this years earlier. This is a strategy for proofreading that I would definitely recommend.

This is a supercharged version that catches a wider range of errors than the Word standard grammar and spelling checker.

It is great to be able to choose your language, audience and formality. (email, informal, academic etc). This helps ease any discomfort of writing in an academic or more formal style.

It’s not flawless and flags perfectly correct phrases and words as mistakes. It’s not perfect, but I would rather it flagged potential mistakes to me than miss out.

It’s also free to open an account. Grammarly is the best free option for proofreading essays and theses.

  • 17. Do not copy any material.

Do not copy other people’s work.

Universities and Colleges run essays through tools such as Turnitin which puts a huge red flag on essays that have a high percentage of source material.

If you don’t “cheat”, a late-night rush to the library can lead to a mistaken copy of a research note that somehow ends up in your essay.

To avoid this, make it a rule to never copy directly text from books or articles unless the direct quotation is clearly indicated.

  • 18. You can find a buddy to help you with your proofreading.

Your friends and family may not be the best proofreaders, but they can still help you out when in a bind!

When you are stuck in the editing and writing mode, and you can’t put enough distance between yourself and your essay for neutral proofreading to take place…

Finding a buddy to help you with your proofreading can be very helpful, especially if they can offer some assistance and swap their assignments.

A friend’s eye can bring objectivity into the process of proofreading. Your buddy will be more likely than you to catch mistakes that your brain misses because it is used to your argument. ).

19. Professional help is available

There’s always the option to hire a professional editor. When it comes to polishing your submissions, you can often have a lot on the line.

It’s essential to first check with your institution what is allowed and if you require permission. Remember, you do not want to get accused of collusion or cheating.

Sometimes, hiring a professional just isn’t possible – it may not be in your budget. It’s great if it does, though. You’ll want to allow enough time to get them working – it is slow!

If you have difficulty reading and writing English, it is a good idea to seek professional assistance.

Learning Differences, such as dyslexia and dysgraphia, can complicate the process of proofreading essays or assignments. You may face similar difficulties if English was not your native language or if you have difficulty writing academic English.

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