Blog Editing and Proofreading Tips

Grammar Proofreading – Guide to Proofreading Your Paper

Grammar proofreading is one of the most important steps when writing your assignments. As you are writing your first draft, you may not notice certain writing mistakes. Proofreading grammatical mistakes will help you find those errors so that the paper you turn in looks as professional as possible. It does not matter whether you have a great topic or content, if your text is full of grammar issues.

Why Should I Care About Proofreading Grammar?

When you are at university, professors will care a lot about whether or not grammar in your submitted paper is in order. You may have the best points and arguments in the paper, but if grammar is bad, then the entire image of the paper will suffer from it. Many professors grade papers of their students poorly, simply because there were too many grammar and proofreading errors. A well-proofread text shows that student cares a lot about their work and spent an extra time polishing it.

When you do a grammar check, make sure that you follow rules of punctuation, spelling, grammar, and word choice. It’s very easy to switch between pronouns or spell a word incorrectly, which is why you always have to go over your text once more. 

How Can I Do Proper Grammar Fixing on My Paper?

Certain steps may help you become much more efficient at proofreading an essay. Here are some tips that usually benefit students: 

Know Your Common Errors

Are there any spelling errors that you tend to make regularly? Familiarize yourself with them and look out for them when you are going through an essay grammar check. Plus, when you are already familiarized with these errors, you will become more conscious of them – and will, therefore, be less likely to make them again. 

Read Text Out Loud

When proofreading a text for grammar, do not quickly skim through it. Go through every word slowly and carefully, reading everything out loud. Very often, your ears might catch what your eyes failed to.

Read from Last to First

A very good way to grammar essay check is to read from the last word to the first. When logical flow is uninterrupted, it might be easier for you to skip a few words and make mistakes. However, when you read sentences from last to first,  flow is interrupted, and it will be much easier for you to catch any potential mistakes. 

Use Dictionary

When in doubt while proofreading, always use an online or offline dictionary. If there are any words that you are unsure about their grammar, check for them. Look for appropriate verb tense, prepositions, and irregular forms as well. Or, if you still have doubts, use a professional essay editing service.

Look for Common Surface Errors

Spelling is very often the most common surface grammar mistake, along with punctuation (commas, periods, and apostrophes). Verbs are commonly spelled in the wrong tense, with the wrong subject-verb agreement. Some grammar proofreading free tools might be able to pinpoint these errors. 

Pronouns are more and more miswritten, with people using wrong pronoun in wrong fragment. Sentence fragments are also common, along with dangling or misplaced modifiers. 

Spelling

Spelling is one of the most common surface grammar errors that appear on school and university papers. To correct these issues, you might want to use a free online grammar checker and proofreader, as it will immediately point out problems with your text. 

Keep in mind that a spellchecker won’t do much for you where homonyms are involved, as these words have different meanings and spellings. Here are words that are often misspelled:

  • Their – “They” possessive form, often misspelled as “there” (location) or they’re (“they are” contraction”  

  • Accept – Meaning to receive or accept something/someone, often misspelled as “except,” which means “only” or “but.”

  • Who’s – Contraction of “who has” or “who is,” often misspelled as “whose,” which is possessive form of “who.” 

Spelling examples are countless. “Its” is often misspelled as “it’s.” You’re” is often misspelled as “your.” This is why, whenever you have your doubts about a word, you should always check for its correct form while proofreading your grammar. 

Punctuation

There is a very big difference between “let’s eat grandma” and “let’s eat, grandma.” Commas can save lives. The same thing applies to other forms of punctuation. Here is what you’ll need to know when doing punctuation proofreading:

  1. Commas

Commas separate a sentence into sections. Depending on sentence, commas may have different placements: 

  • Between introduction of a sentence and main part.

E.g. Simply put, their decision greatly surprised us.

  • Between two sentences tied by a conjunction 

E.g. Jenna forgot to grab the sunscreen from home, but she bought some from the store instead.

  • To signal a nonrestrictive element (extra information that can be otherwise deleted without changing meaning). 

E.g. George, who was the oldest of the group, went in first. 

  1. Apostrophes

Apostrophe suggests that something belongs to another person. Mind this when you  grammar proofread a paper. Depending on termination of the word, an apostrophe may or may not be followed by an “s.” This usually depends on whether or not the word itself also ends with an “s.” The best essay proofreading service should be able to easily catch these mistakes.

  • E.g. 1: This incident wasn’t anybody’s fault.

  • E.g. 2:  Both families’ reservations were canceled that night. 

When you use the word “its” without an apostrophe, meaning is “belonging to something.” However, when you add an apostrophe, it becomes a contraction of “it has” or “it is.” 

  • E.g. The car is the only one of its kind. It’s a Chevrolet Impala from 1967.

  1. Periods

Periods are used to put an end to a sentence. It can be used to separate a longer sentence that could otherwise be two different independent sentences. 

In some cases, the period may be replaced with a comma or semicolon. This will separate the sentences and give more sense. 

  • Incorrect: The company policy isn’t properly defined it confuses the employees. 

  • Correct: The company policy isn’t properly defined. It confuses the employees. 

Bear in mind that not every free grammar checker and proofreading tool might tell you when a sentence should stop. Therefore, you’ll need to keep an eye on those aspects yourself.

Verbs

When proofreading a paper, you need to keep an eye on verbs as well. You need to pay attention to whether they should be in an active or passive form. Active is when the subject is the one doing the action, whereas passive has the action performed on the subject:

  • Active: The event planner canceled the festival. 

  • Passive: The festival was canceled by the event planner.

Also, ensure that you keep the same tense in the sentence. Using both past and present tense may confuse the reader:

  • Incorrect: After he received the ball, George kicks it and scored a goal.

  • Correct: After he received the ball, George kicked it and scored a goal.

Subject-Verb Agreement

In a sentence, you always need to be certain that the subject and the verb are always in agreement. If one is singular, the other needs to be singular as well. If one is in the past tense, the other should be in the past tense as well. Here is an example of proofreading:

  • Incorrect: The earnings from the last event is not enough to cover the costs.

  • Correct: The earnings from the last event are not enough to cover the costs.

Pronouns

Pronouns always have to agree with their antecedent. To proofread this matter, you need to identify what the pronoun is, find its antecedent, and then make sure they agree in number and gender: 

  • Incorrect: All of the kittens grew up healthily in its foster home.

  • Correct: All of the kittens grew up healthily in their foster home.

Other Errors to Notice While Grammar Editing

Other grammatical errors are also very common, including: 

Sentence Fragments

Sentence fragments are sentences that were separated by a period without them needing to be. As a result, they make two incomplete sentences (or a complete and incomplete sentence) that should normally have been joined with a comma: 

  • Incorrect: She is my best friend. A girl I would trust with my life.

  • Correct: She is my best friend, a girl I would trust with my life.

Misplaced or Dangling Modifiers

Misplaced or dangling modifiers may be difficult to read. This is why the modifier needs to be close to the subject that it describes. 

  • Incorrect: He could easily see the deer running at the edge of the lake with his monoculars.

  • Correct: With his monoculars, he could easily see the deer running at the edge of the lake.

Let Us Proofread Your Essay

Proofreading your assignments is essential, regardless of your academic level, subject, or paper type. To make your essay look professional, you might want to add a mistake free grammar and proofreading service like ours in the mix. This way, you won’t have to turn in a mistake-riddled paper.

Posted by Diana B., October 01, 2020