A lot of students find proofreading their papers a boring task. You read the same text over and over again, what’s cool about that? If you agree, you may not know there is more than one way to proofread a piece of academic writing efficiently. It’s crucial for the quality of your essay, and you can make the process more fun.
In this article, we’ll recognize the importance of proofreading a finished paper and 5 great ways to do it.
Why Proofread a Paper
If you write the paper yourself, you have to proofread it because you never know what mistakes you could’ve made. Checking the text online for grammar and spelling mistakes isn’t enough. Besides, these services work by algorithms, and oftentimes they fix mistakes that weren’t there in the first place.
Now let’s see if you have to proofread an essay that was written for you. After asking “Who can do my essay for me?” and using a writing service like https://domyessays.com, a lot of students ask “Why should I proofread it?”. If the paper was written by qualified professionals, everything should be perfect, right?
Well, you should know exactly what the paper is about, what arguments and evidence were presented, etc. Besides, it’s impossible to learn about writing great essays if you don’t read even the best examples.
Check for the following when proofreading:
- Word usage mistakes;
- Incorrect verb usage;
- Spelling mistakes;
- Punctuation mistakes.
Also, be sure that your essay stays on topic, your sentences and paragraphs are organized, and the paper is easy to follow.
Here are 5 different methods of proofreading an essay.
Create a checklist of mistake types to look for in the text and go through it once for every point on the list. You don’t have to read it carefully every time. For example, you can read it the first time when looking for grammar and style mistakes. Then, when checking, say, punctuation, you can just brush through the sentences. Continue the same way for every type of mistake.
It will save you a lot of time, but you have to read the essay the first time very carefully. The base of every proofreading is still the same — thorough reading.
It must be everyone’s favorite, but experts recommend combining this method with at least one more. The key here is to let the paper sit for a day or even more, not even thinking about it. Then, a day before handing it in, you should read it as thoroughly as you can a couple of times.
This will allow you to see a lot of small mistakes you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to notice.
Note: Make sure you don’t leave proofreading your essay till the last minute. The method is called that way because you wait before reading the paper. You should always leave a certain amount of time for error fixing.
Reading your piece of writing out loud can actually help you detect a lot of smaller mistakes. This type of proofreading will give you a new perspective on your writing style and the logic of the paper.
Sometimes we go off-topic not even noticing it, especially in an essay where we’re allowed to share our opinions. But when you’re reading the paper, ask yourself whether every paragraph is related to the subject.
Besides, it’s much easier to detect repetitions that create tautology when you read aloud. When reading to yourself, you get used to your writing and sometimes fail to notice such things.
Reading your essay backwards (we mean sentences, not words) will help you similarly to reading aloud. You’ll see a different consequence of sentences and will be able to spot minor mistakes.
You won’t be able to check the flow and organization of the paper this way. But spelling mistakes have no chance. As it’s impossible to assess writing organization, your brain will focus on anything it can check. This is why some people find mistakes using this method even in seemingly perfect texts.
This one is fun because you can discuss the paper with another person. Read the essay to them and ask for their opinion. You can get interesting remarks on the grammar choices, as well as the structure of the paper.
You can also get some great ideas that will make your essay better. Maybe there’s a source you’ve missed in your research that is a great piece of evidence to your argument. Or maybe your thesis doesn’t sound as strong as you see it. Remember that your paper will be checked by other people, and they may not perceive your ideas as well as you do. So, it can be useful to ask for a second opinion beforehand.
Never Underestimate Proofreading
Consider trying all of these methods and find a couple that works best for you. Experts recommend using more than one way to make sure you don’t miss anything. If you can, leave a couple of days for the process. Proofread the paper one day and take a break, repeating the process the next day. By keeping your distance from the paper for some time you get a fresh perspective on it once you read it again.