Finishing writing your essay can feel like a big accomplishment as a student – and it is! – but it’s important to remember that your work doesn’t stop there. Taking the time to go back and proofread your essay is a great way to ensure your success and even improve your writing skills.
Check out our guide below to learn how to effectively proofread your writing.
1. Timing is Everything
Taking a break between writing and proofreading your essay is crucial. Proofreading takes a great deal of focus, so giving your brain and eyes a much-needed break will allow you to do a more thorough job.
Also consider proofreading at the time of day when you’re most alert. Moving to a different (but still distraction-free) location from where you write can also be useful.
2. Common Mistakes
It can be really helpful to go back through essays you’ve previously written and evaluated and take note of the types of mistakes that you make most often. Check out some of the most common grammatical errors here. Once you’ve put together a checklist, read through your essay, focusing on one type of error at a time.
3. Tips and Tricks
● Proofread backward: Read through your essay line-by-line, from end to beginning, to defocus from the overall meaning and content and refocus on specific elements, like spelling and grammar.
● Proofread out loud: Sometimes identifying what you wrote vs. what you intended to write is easier when you hear it spoken out loud.
● Proofread everything: Don’t just review the body text of your essay! Errors can also slip into your references, captions, footnotes, titles, etc.
● Proofread and then proofread again: If you identify errors during your first read through, it’s important to go back and proofread again to ensure you didn’t introduce new errors into anything you’ve rewritten.
● Proofread with spell check: Most word processors include a spell check tool, which can be very helpful, but should be used with caution. Spell checkers can highlight things that aren’t actually errors and can even leave errors behind, so you shouldn’t rely solely on them.
4. Peer Proofreading
If you have friends or peers that you trust to read your writing and whose feedback you value, try having them read through your essay. Having a fresh set of eyes can be helpful in identifying any areas of your essay that need clarity, concision, or further spelling and grammar revisions.
5. Professional Proofreading Services
Although peer proofreading can help improve your essay, your peers likely aren’t professional proofreaders, so it’s possible for errors to get left behind. Likewise, if you aren’t yet confident in your proofreading skills or lack the time to devote to proofreading, using a professional service is a great way to ensure your writing is error-free. Fortunately, we have expert editors who are ready to help! Upload a free trial document to learn more.