Proofreading is an important, but often overlooked, part of the writing process. A few spelling and grammar mistakes can hurt your grade and leave a negative impression. Follow these simple proofreading tips to ensure that your writing is error-free:
Give yourself enough time for revisions
Avoid procrastinating on assignments and allow yourself enough time to review your work thoroughly. You’re more likely to recognize mistakes when you’re not burnt out or under pressure to meet a deadline. It’s wise to give yourself at least a few hours before the assignment is due so that you can check for errors and make necessary revisions.
It’s common for students to make spelling or grammar errors while typing, many of which can easily go unnoticed by the writer. Luckily, most word processing applications have a spellcheck function that catches your mistakes before you do. A misspelled word will likely be underlined in red, while a grammatical error might be underlined in blue or green. Pay attention to these marks and be sure to complete a full spellcheck sweep before you submit your work.
Print it out and read it aloud
Spellcheck is a great tool for fixing spelling and grammar mistakes, but it does not catch all errors. After you have finished your spellcheck, print out a copy of your work and review it yourself. Read aloud to check for missing, repeated and misused words. Make sure that your sentences flow smoothly and that you have used the right punctuation. Reading aloud forces you to look closely at each sentence and allows you to recognize errors that you might have otherwise missed.
Look for common errors
Look back on past assignments and review the instructor’s feedback. Do you struggle with proper comma use? Are there words that you tend to misspell? Note these issues and make a point to correct them in future assignments.
Have a friend or professor provide feedback
After you have finished proofreading, ask someone else to review your paper. He or she might find additional mistakes or have advice as to how you can improve your writing in the future. Seeking feedback from your peers and professors is a great learning opportunity and will help you become a better writer and proofreader.
All good writers take extra steps to proofread their work. Proofreading ensures that the final version of your paper is error-free and increases your chances of making a positive impression on your reader. You’ve already put in the work to write the paper — why not make it the best that it can be?