5 Tips for Effective Proofreading

Proofreading is an important step before submitting or publishing texts. But where to start? What needs your attention the most? How do you not miss the most important things so that the text is the best it can be? To answer these questions, I have prepared the most comprehensive checklist for proofreading. It is useful for students who need to submit different types of papers. Save the guide in your bookmarks, as it will help you more than once.\

1. Compliance with the teacher’s instructions

Start proofreading by checking compliance with the teacher’s instructions. This is the easiest and fastest way to determine if your text meets the requirements. Even if you yourself wrote it, review the teacher’s instructions so as not to miss any important details.

What to check here:

  • The number of words required for the task.

  • The format style is correct.

  • The text is unique, and if not, you can send it to a team of professional writers who can help you rewrite your text, such as those who work on essay for sale.

    2. Appearance of the text

The next important step in proofreading is formatting. Before submitting a paper, you need to put everything in order and make it easy to read.

Check:

  • The title and all the subheadings (if you have them) are in place and have the appropriate formatting. 

  • Text margins have the same alignment across all blocks: left or wide.

  • All quotation marks, brackets, dashes, and hyphens are used correctly and uniformly and punctuation marks are in place.

  • Only single spaces are used between words and sentences. There are no spaces before commas, periods, semicolons, colons, question marks, or exclamation points.

  • Font size, slope, and spacing are the same as originally specified.

  • Citations are placed correctly.

    3. Check the text for errors 

At this stage of proofreading, you need to once again understand the meaning of what you wrote, comparing each block with the topic. To check someone else’s text for content, immerse yourself in the topic. Check the facts, catch inconsistencies, and ask the author clarifying questions if you have any doubts. Leave your writing for a while, and then check it in a few hours or the next day. The main thing in editing is that you need a fresh look.

While proofreading, pay attention to such aspects:

  • The theme of the text is fully disclosed and the main goal is clear.

  • The title must reflect the topic of the paper, and it should be easy to read. It should neither be too long nor too short, optimally 9-13 words. If you don’t like the title, edit it or pick other options, choosing the best one.

  • The text needs a logical structure that reveals the topic.

  • The sentences are connected and have a causal link.

  • There are no factual and logical errors. If some point seems controversial, be sure to check it again. Use only official and verified resources, and look for primary sources.

  • The whole text is written in one style, and it does not have words and phrases characteristic of other styles.

  • The paper is easy to read. The main idea must have a logical conclusion.

    4. Text structure

Now go through the text structure. Once polished, the text will look harmonious and be easy to read for others. A prerequisite is to have small paragraphs and “air” between them. It is very important for readability. Readers like visually attractive texts.

At this stage, check how easy and quickly the text reads:

  • The structure of the text meets the requirements of the teacher or your previously approved plan.

  • The text must contain bulleted and numbered lists, and tables if necessary.

  • The text is correctly divided into paragraphs: up to five sentences in each. 

  • Each paragraph must include one micro topic. (A micro topic is the smallest component of a single text topic. It includes several sentences, combined grammatically and in meaning.)

  • All paragraphs have a logical and grammatical link.

  • Each sentence has one completed thought.

  • The length of sentences is from 5 to 20 words. The best method for writing sentences is being able to read it with one exhale. Each sentence is separated by a period, in rare cases by a question mark or an exclamation mark. But in academic papers, it is better to avoid misusing these marks.

  • The introduction concisely and accurately leads to the main theme of the text. It includes no more than two paragraphs, or five sentences.

  • The conclusion corresponds to the teacher’s requirements and purpose. Think about the readers, who should have a pleasant impression after reading your paper.

    5. Grammar and vocabulary

Study each sentence and word. You can take into account all the rules of spelling; the presence of grammatical and lexical errors will prevent the reader from understanding the meaning. Common mistakes are that a word is used in the wrong sense or the laws of constructing the sentence are violated.

Always look at the lexical and grammatical structures:

  • All words in the text are consistent with each other, have the correct grammatical form, are in the necessary cases. Pay particular attention to bulleted lists.

  • All words in the text are used literally, and there is no ambiguity.

  • Terms and professional vocabulary are used correctly, and explanations are provided if they are necessary for the reader.

  • The text contains synonyms and avoids tautology. Check for similar words in adjacent sentences as well.

Make sure that the text doesn’t contain:

  • Colloquialisms, slang, pleonasms, words with an emotional color, jargon, archaism, or historicism.

  • Contextual and absolute synonyms within a single sentence.

  • Calque or other inappropriate language errors.

  • Clichés (or minimizing them, depending on the task of the text).

Final proofreading

Yes, you are almost done. As you can see, the text has undergone changes in this process, but it is definitely improving. You need to conduct the final proofreading.

  • Be sure to read the text aloud to hear it and identify weak spots.

  • Check the written text again with plagiarism detection software and make changes if necessary. Often, correcting errors in the text can lead to the loss of uniqueness. And you need to make sure once again that it corresponds to the teacher’s requirements.

  • Check the number of words in the final text.

I hope that these tips will be of great help to you.



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