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11 Proofreading Tips That Will Improve Your Writing

Notebook and pen

Writing is essential in our lives. We produce hundreds of essays, letters, and other documents. And there are myriads of writing guides right on the Internet. However, one thing is always forgotten. It is called proofreading. Without important proofreading skills, students are doomed to write low-quality papers. And it comes as no surprise that they buy essays for college, not writing them their way. 

If you look for guides to improve your overall writing, you have come to the right place. This article enlists the most effective proofreading tips you are encouraged to use when writing any document. 

Proofreading Prep

Proofreading requires a preparation stage. Warming up is a necessary process in sport. For instance, college wrestling teams always prep before their matches. There are several steps you have to complete before checking the paper. The three most pivotal ones are:

1. Schedule Proofreading

First and foremost, schedule your proofreading session. Remain organized and set the timer for proofreading. The most important is to stay focused. Set aside an hour and make sure you are not distracted by any redundant sounds and notifications.

2. Start Refreshed

Although proofreading is a part of an assignment, it requires time and energy. Write the paper, sleep on it, then come proofread it. This is the most efficient way to proofread the essay. If you are short on time, make sure to have at least a two-hour break between writing and proofreading.

3. Set Appropriate Font

When you take a break and are ready to proofread, check the font. Make sure it is readable, meaning it is not overly stylized. Depending on your academic institution, you have to use a particular font. Usually, it is Times New Roman or Calibri. Stick to these two to be on the safe side.

Proofreading Process

Once you complete the mentioned steps, you can kick off with actual proofreading. The following tips will help you make your proofreading session as productive as possible.

Print Out The Work 

Reading on-screen tends to be less effective compared to papers. Not only do we read slower, but we are also prone to missing crucial mistakes. So, print out work if you can do that. It will be easier to highlight potential errors. Suppose you can’t print out the paper. In that case, download the paper in pdf, open it, zoom in, take a pen and paper, and start reading and noting down mistakes. This is the most optimal solution.

Read And Understand Every Single Word

Use a ruler or your finger to keep track of your reading progress. Whenever you don’t understand the word, highlight it, pause proofreading, look up the word’s meaning, and continue to read.  

Read It Aloud

It will be best if you read the paper out loud. Although you might feel embarrassed, reading aloud calls attention to unnatural phrases and misspellings. Every time you stop reading because of an awkward phrase, your reader will do the same. 

Read Backwards

When you read an essay, your brain realizes that it was you who wrote a paper some time ago. Therefore, it might not be fully focused and can miss some errors. In that case, start reading backward, i.e., from the last sentence to the first one. This way is practical if you focus on spelling. Don’t pay too close attention to content.

Check Contractions and Possessives

One of the severest pitfalls students face is the misuse of contractions and possessives. Read carefully such words as their, there, they’re, your, you’re, its and it’s, etc. It is easy to fall into this trap, so be thorough and double-check them.

Review Passive Voice

Avoid using a passive voice. It is only useful when referring to previous studies. If you don’t rely on any academic source and/or research, stay away from a passive voice. It is hard to read, and it is a real filler. You will save much space when writing sentences in an active voice.

Verify Words

Remember a simple rule: never use words you don’t fully understand. Indeed, we all want sometimes to shine with our vocabulary knowledge. However, it often makes us worse off. Even if you are sure the word is accurate, recheck its meaning. Use Thesaurus or OneLook Reverse to ensure it fits the context.

Use Tools

Thanks to technology development, we now have lots of gadgets and devices we use daily. Employ Grammarly and Hemingway Editor while proofreading. Not only will they show you grammar and punctuation errors, but they will score the paper’s readability. These apps are free, so you can use them whenever you want.

Proofreading skills are vitally important if you want to become a better writer. The mentioned tips will help you develop an effective proofreading strategy. It will result in papers’ high quality and grades, respectively.


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