Blog Editing and Proofreading Tips

How to Proofread an Essay – All You Need to Know About Essay Proofreading

Knowing how to proofread an essay doesn’t sound like such a challenging task at first. In fact, students may think all it takes is going quickly over their paper, checking for punctuation and spelling mistakes, and they are done. But fixing a few grammatical errors here and there is not all that should be done. Proofreading involves more than that, and if students want their university essays to sound good, they should have the skill.

But if one thinks they lack proofreading skills and don’t want to hire a professional proofreader, they must learn how proofreading a paper works. While proofreading English, Spanish, and French online is possible, it’s always better to do the work on your own.  In this post, we’re going to provide some tips on how to proofread your essays. 

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading is referring to the act of going back to a work you’ve written and checking it for any grammar errors, but also mistakes involving sentences, punctuation, spelling, and consistency. But why is it important to proofread your writing? It helps to find potential errors and takes your paper to a perfect form. It is not wise to submit an assignment without re-reading it several times. A college professor is easily able to notice inconsistencies in a text.

Editing should be the last step students take before they send an essay to their teacher. It ensures that the essay sent to the teacher won’t be full of errors and will thus not lead to losing points from the final grade. 

How to Proofread a Paper in 10 Simple Steps

To do it properly, one should spend enough time doing editing, especially if they don’t consider hiring a website that proofreads essays. Well, if a person wants to do it correctly, below are ten steps that one can implement in order to slowly master paper proofreading. 

1. Print Out an Essay

While it feels much easier to correct essays written on your computer or learning how to proofread a document in Word, it is sometimes a bit more troublesome compared to having the paper in physical form. For this reason, what you could do to make your task easier is printing out the essay on a page. This way, you won’t stare at your screen for ages looking for typos. 

After printing it, take a pen and use it on the physical paper. Act as an essay proofreader of your classmate’s paper. You’ll correct the necessary on the physical copy and will later make them on your computer more easily. Besides, mistakes instantly become more obvious when you have the essay in front of you instead of on the computer. 

2. Take a Break

Before you start editing, consider taking a break. You probably feel tired if you’ve just finished writing your essay and if you’ve been staring at your assignment on the screen for hours. If you want to proofread your essay accurately, you should rest your eyes for a bit. Make yourself a coffee or a tea and do something you enjoy for a little bit. 

Once you’re ready, go straight to essay editing and proofreading. 

3. Get Rid of Distractions

One of the worst parts of proofreading an essay is getting distracted. You are most likely getting multiple notifications on your phone due to people messaging you or commenting on your social media posts. While it is more tempting to browse your social media instead of spending time on your assignments, it’s crucial to get rid of any distractions until you’re done. 

Put your phone on silent and turn off the vibration too or take it to another room if possible. Turn off any TV or stereo nearby and sit in a quiet and peaceful room. Your essay should be the only thing to focus on. So, learning how to proofread your own writing is essential.  

4. Correct the Most Common Errors 

When it comes to punctuation and grammar, everyone will make some typical mistakes, especially if the essay is written in a language they have not mastered yet. You should deal with this by creating a checklist of common errors you keep missing. Maybe you put commas in the wrong parts of the sentence, or perhaps you confuse certain words for other words. 

It doesn’t matter what it is – you should put them on a checklist and check them off one by one. This checklist will tell about your regular mistakes and it’ll help you for future essays as well. In fact, it may even help you prevent these errors in the future. 

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5. Read Backwards

Reading your essay backwards may sound crazy, but it’s an effective way of proofreading your work. This is especially useful in situations when you have no spell-check available, or no paper proofreader app that instantly tells you where you missed a typo. 

Many times, our brains will read a sentence wrong, making us believe that certain spellings are correct based on the sentence context. But reading the essay backward will make mistakes more obvious, and you should notice them immediately. 

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6. Check for Consistency

Staying consistent is something important when writing an essay. Many times, you may end up changing between different options in your paper, which makes things look messy and just confusing overall. Proofreading an essay for consistency is a must.

For instance, you may use both British English and U.S. English spellings, or you may spell numbers out and then use numerals later. These are only two examples of such errors. But the key to a successful essay is staying consistent, which is why you should look for any misspellings you made in this regard. If you started with one thing, you should ensure the same rule you settled for applies later in the essay too. 

7. Check Twice after Every Tweak

Believe it or not, but a lot of times, some mistakes actually occur after essay editing and proofreading. For example, you may notice a very long sentence in your essay which is quite confusing. You rewrite it to make it shorter and more straightforward. While doing so, though, you end up leaving a new mistake there. 

After editing, go back to it and check for potential issues. 

8. Don’t Just Check the Body Text

A lot of people think that the body of the text is the only place where mistakes exist. But they can exist in the bibliography, captions, and footnotes as well. Every single part of your essay should be checked for these errors. Otherwise, you might lose points when your teacher is grading the paper. 

9. Check the Numbers

While performing an essay correction, it’s also important to look for any in-text references that might be outdated. This is especially important if you updated the Section/Figure numbers. Besides, when providing a reference to the total section number, you should ensure the quote represents the last final number you got. 

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10. Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the worst thing ever, and you should avoid it as much as possible. After all, the last thing you want to do is copying someone else’s work or ideas. You would end up getting a bad grade or even being expelled for doing so, depending on the college or university. 

Run your essay through a plagiarism checker to ensure there is nothing copied in your essay. 

Entrust Proofreading Your Essay to Professionals

Nowadays, you don’t have to proofread your essay manually. You can use our service to help you out. If you’re on a budget, you can even use cheap proofreading services like ours to offer you the support you need. When you proofread essay for free, you can also learn how to prevent mistakes in the future. And learning all these proofreading practice exercises for adults will lead to better writing skills.

Posted by Chris M., June 03, 2016

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