Hints For Proofreading A Paper Like An Expert

Proofreading is one of the most important aspects of the writing process. After a student finishes writing and editing their paper, some mistakes and other problems may still remain within the body of their completed work. Most of the time, they don't see these mistakes until they get the paper proofread.

The process of proofreading is the actual review of a paper's final draft after all of the surface errors (like spelling and grammar mistakes) have been checked and corrected. Therefore, proofreading a paper is the most important step for ensuring that all of the errors within the paper have been corrected before submission.

A student can proofread a paper on their own. They can also hand off their paper to another student or instructor. While there are different ways to get a paper proofread, both still accomplish the main purpose of proofreading: reviewing the paper for surface errors.

Hints for proofreading like an expert

Proofreading is a simple process, though it doesn't hurt to review proofreading resources before getting started.

Below are some proofreading hits for student writers who wish to proofread their paper like an expert:

  1. Always proofread before submission. Even edited papers have mistakes; proofread the paper again to find the last of the errors that may be there.
  2. Exchange the paper with another student. This effective exercise encourages peer interaction and peer editing. It also gets a 'fresh pair of eyes' on a student paper for proofreading.
  3. Self-proofreading works, too. A student can actually proofread their paper on their own. There are several ways to accomplish that:
    • Printing their paper out to read. Printing out a completed work helps writers catch more mistakes that they wouldn't have seen on screen.
    • Reading the work backwards. Reading backwards lets a writer see their paper 'sentence by sentence' and 'word by word,' making it easier to catch mistakes.
  4. Make the paper look less familiar. Sometimes, it takes a font or color change within a document to see a paper as it truly looks.
  5. Use a spelling and grammar checker to catch additional surface errors. Sometimes, minor editing can leave behind surface errors; a good spelling and grammar checker can clean up the rest of them.
  6. Proofread out loud. Reading the paper out loud helps writers catch additional errors, such as awkward phrasing, that they didn't see on screen. Using text to speech software also helps writers hear how their paper sounds before completing their final edits.