We all know about the necessity to proofread the paper before submitting it to the professor. But what exactly is proofreading? Should you just check the grammar and typos? Or should you go beyond that? Here are the major steps and tips that will help you to proofread the essay correctly.
Top Advices on Proofreading an Essay
Do it manually…
Proofreading is not about looking through your essay in a few seconds: you should really read it carefully to find any mistakes. When you are reading quickly, and when you are reading the text, you are already familiar with, you might not pay attention to the errors you have made. Moreover, there are some kinds of mistakes that automatic tall will not be able to detect.
… but use online tools as well
Online grammar checkers are great for checking regular typos and grammar errors: even if you know grammar perfectly, you might make some minor mistakes without even noticing it. Therefore, try to check your paper both manually and through available online tools to ensure that it corresponds to the standards of your institution and doesn’t contain any errors.
Don’t proofread an essay right after you have finished it
If you have some time before submission (and I hope you don’t procrastinate and write everything at the very last minute), don’t hurry to proofread it. It is always better to evaluate your paper with a new view: let’s say, on the next day or in a few hours at least.
Be strict to yourself…
When you are tired, you can think that many problematic issues in your paper are okay — just not to rewrite everything once more. However, such approach makes the whole proofreading procedure useless: therefore, instead of thinking why some problem is normal for your paper, try to imagine that you are the strictest instructor in the world and read your essay accordingly.
… or ask someone else to check it
You can also ask your classmate or friend to proofread the paper in addition to what you have already done. Of course, this approach will work if you have a friend who will not be afraid to hurt your feelings and will read the whole paper precisely.
Points to Pay Attention to While Proofreading
For many students, it is not clear what exactly should be proofread; as a result, the majority simply checks the typos and basic grammar errors. In such a case, the essay is not improved much as profound irregularities remain. Therefore, I have developed a checklist of points you should pay attention to while proofreading your essay.
Structure and the length of the paragraphs
Make sure that your paper has clear sections as requested in your requirements. Also, check if body paragraphs have a clear structure and if they are similar in length (especially if you are writing a regular essay). Note, however, that extended writings and profound research papers should do not require paragraphs to be of a similar size.
The main idea of the paper
You know what you were writing about, but is it that obvious for the reader who is not familiar with your text? When reading your essay, ask yourself if the main idea is clear. You can also keep additional questions in mind. Is the introduction engaging enough? Does the text persuade the audience? Are the main arguments clear?
Short sentences are easy to read and understand. However, a significant number of it will make your paper sound as if it was written by a kid. If you feel that your text is too simple, try to combine a few sentences where appropriate or add details that could make them more valuable.
While the essay should not consist of short sentences only, unnecessary empty constructions will add nothing but the monotony to your paper. Therefore, try to read your paper with and without inserted phrases and see if they can be simplified or omitted.
An academic paper with a passive voice always sounds strict and scientific. However, passive voice is no longer favored by the professors: as the papers should be easy and interesting to read, it should be omitted where possible. If you have an actor in the statement, always use active voice; use passive one only if the actor is too obvious or unknown.
While some of your sentences may be too short, others may be hard to follow. That is why you should also pay attention to exceptionally long sentences: they may be absolutely necessary in some cases; in others, though, they can only confuse the reader. Try to break them into the shorter sentences or get rid of the odd words.
A run-on sentence may occur when you try to connect two independent closes in one sentence. Again, you can either split the sentence and add some details into both parts, or use appropriate punctuation to ensure the proper connection.
I highly recommend using online engines to check the punctuation in your paper: the majority of them are good enough to guide you properly.
Formatting makes your paper look well-prepared and tidy. Therefore, double-check your institution requirements as well as general writing style rules to make sure that all the references are edited correctly. Don’t forget about spacing, fields, and indentations as well.
Please tell me if this guide was useful for you. In case you have some tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments section.