Proofreading your work

That’s it!  You’ve finished!  Now you can hand it in.

Not so fast….

Is it really finished?  Is it as good as you can make it?  Let’s think about that.

How accurate is it in terms of grammar and spelling?  This is a tricky one if English is not your first language.  Obviously, you can go for the security provided by using a professional proofreading service such as Academic Proofreading.  However, you can also do a great deal by yourself.  Let’s look at what we mean by that.

As far as spelling is concerned your computer will help you.  When you misspell a word it can either autocorrect it or it can udnerline it.  See what it did there with the word ‘underline’?  What can often help in terms of spotting mistakes is to distance yourself from what you have written.  What do we mean by that?  We mean is taking time out after you finish and re-visit it at a later date.  This helps because there is a need to view the work afresh because, having just written something, you ‘own’ it and think you know what you’ve written, mistakes and all.

So, imagine you finish on Wednesday evening.  Sleep on it.  Get up on Thursday morning (or even longer if possible) and have another look. Read it through on the computer screen. You could print it out because seeing it in hard copy can reveal something you have missed.  If you do this, use a ruler to literally underline what you have written.  This can help you spot errors because you are forced to slow down your reading. You can even put it into a different font to make it less familiar.

You can also use sound to help you.  You can read what is on the screen out loud.  This also slows you down and lets you spot mistakes such as repeated words and poor punctuation.  Another more modern technique once again uses your computer.  With your paper on the computer click on the bar at the top of the screen. Click on Review and you will see a Read Aloud button.  Place your cursor at the beginning of your work and click this button and a rather robot-sounding voice will read what you have written.  Listen carefully and you may spot mistakes.

All this sound very complicated but it’s really not.  However, if you are still worried, why not let us help you at as we have helped students for over 17 years!

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