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How to Proofread your Essay

How to Proofread your Essay

How to Proofread your Essay
Table of Content

Proofreading is the last step while revising your essay, and you should never skip it! A single mistake can ruin the entire hard work you have put into writing the whole paper. The process involves checking spelling mistakes, grammar, missing words in the sentences that might have been left uncorrected. It's tough to do so. In your mind, you have already written the essay, and while reading your article, you sub-consciously fill in the gaps or correct the mistakes. Your mind fills in all the blanks while the errors are staring right at your face.

With so much confusion, proofreading is often skipped by students and writers when writing their papers. After working so hard on the paper and enlisting the hard found examples and facts, it is quite a tough task to recheck your paper from the start. That's a perfectly understandable way to feel, but it is wrong. With so many people trying to achieve the same thing as you are, missing the biggest goal just because you skipped a final step of proofreading isn't the best way to lose. Doing something different and proofreading your essay might take you to your goal.

An essay is an argument that you are writing and building for your reader to understand your stand and perspective on the concept. You are trying to persuade him to take into account your point of view and arguments. But inevitable spelling mistakes or grammatical errors can change the whole scenario. Writing 'too' instead of 'to' can change the entire meaning. A comma in the wrong place can lead to a different understanding of what you have written.

Proofreading is not impossible to do. There are excellent essay editors around the world who are experts in spotting mistakes in writing. They publish error-free essays every time. So how to proofread with the maximum efficiency to get the perfect essay is the question. Every proofreader is different as everyone has a different style and mindset of writing. However, some basic rules remain the same and following this will be very much fruitful to you. Below are some steps that can be incorporated into your proofreading schedule.

Tips to Proofread your Essay

  1. Take a break after writing

As we have pointed out earlier that during proofreading, our mind tends to ignore the apparent mistakes in front of our eyes and corrects it automatically. Therefore, to proofread an essay thoroughly, our mind needs to clear out the essay first. A clear head will be more attentive and focused on finding mistakes.

Watching TV, going for a run, eating your favourite food, listening to music, playing board or video games with your friends will help you clear out your head. Do anything you like that shifts your attention from the paper. A break of at least an hour or more is necessary. It's not always possible to take a break, but if you have some time to spare, you should take a break.

It enables our brain to see the essay from a whole new perspective. The spelling and grammar mistakes appear to be more apparent. It makes proofreading a lot easier.

  1. Get rid of distractions around you

After taking a break, it is essential to work with a focus on the task at hand. Thus, it is necessary to cut out all distractions. Sit in silent surroundings and focus only on the essay for the next hour or so. It is essential to focus on undivided attention to find those pesky errors.

  1. Read it aloud

Reading your article aloud is not possible at every place, especially when you are at a library. You can sit in your room and read the essay aloud. The vocalization of the words you have written enables you to hear your essay clearly and notice the flaws. 

This technique helps find grammatical mistakes. With the sound of words and the flow, punctuations and tenses are easier to find. If it is not possible to read it aloud, use apps that convert text to speech. You can then see the mistakes.

  1. Look for only one problem at a time.

Concentrate on one thing at a time. If you are checking for spelling mistakes, focus only on that. Don't go on correcting missing commas in your essay. Do your punctuation check after finishing the spelling check for the entire document? Then go on for checking sentence structures and so on.

  1. Create a list of your repeated mistakes

There must be some words that you continuously write wrong, which might result in repeated spelling mistakes. Frequent confusion between a few words is also possible. This continual mess up can be rectified by making a checklist of the mistakes. Check them off one by one. It is a personal step but is quick in encountering errors. 

  1. Use grammar and spell checkers

There are many tools available on the internet that provides automatic grammar and spelling check of any text. It helps in finding the obvious punctuation and spelling mistakes. It also helps in finding repeated words and reversed words. However, relying on this automated process is not suitable for your proofreading approach.

Even the best are prone to not identifying errors. Sometimes the changes they suggest do not match with the context. It is because it doesn't understand the meaning of the paragraphs you have written. The changes they suggest might even change the point of the whole sentence. 

It's always good to check grammar and spelling on your own. Trust your dictionary. It makes you self-dependent and will help you to proofread in extreme situations. If at some point in time, you are asked to write an instant essay, the practice of checking on your will come in handy.

  1. Find someone to help you with it

It's tough to proofread your writing, so find a proofreading buddy to help you with it. Make a pact with one of your classmates who is also into writing essays. Both of you can swap your writings and proofread them for each other. Choose your proofreading buddy wisely. Ensure you choose someone whom you can trust with this critical task. Also, to ensure your ideas are not taken, choose a person whose writing genre is different so that none of the ideas is stolen.

  1. Perform the process several times

It is tough to do the same process again and again. But, it is wise to do so as repeated checking ensures none of the mistakes is left unseen. It will help you catch every punctuation, spelling and grammar error. It's generally advised to at least check your document three times. 

  1. Have a hard copy of your essay

Try the old-fashioned way. It's very different to hold a hard copy as things look different on paper. You can check and make corrections using a pen. You can also mark sentences that you have completed proofreading. It's all very systematic when it comes to correcting your essay on paper. Make the final changes on your word file.

  1. Double-check all the facts and figures

An essay is a strong element that you tasked to write. All the facts and figures that you are including must be correct and accurate. However, there might sometimes be when you miss a few lines and write it down somewhere else. To avoid these mistakes, it's always advised to double-check all the facts and numbers that you have written in your essay. Also, if you have included any names in your essay, make sure you check their spelling.

  1. Check the format

There can be many distractions, and you can forget a few details. Before submitting your essay, format your essay once again from the start. It ensures that the whole document is formatted correctly.

  1. Find a professional

If your essay is critical and you cannot afford to make any mistake, it's advised to have a professional. If you don't have proper command in English grammar and the punctuation rules, proofreading is going to be a tough task for you. You might end up guessing what is correct and what is wrong. Hire a professional proofreading service for your essays for no errors.

For more help, you can also contact an essay editor. They will refine the text for you. But, it is essential to convey the changes and the structure you want your essay to have. They have a different mindset and will not provide the same essay that you have an image of, in your mind. Give your constructive feedback and get your perfect essay from these pros.

No matter how hard you had brainstormed and jolted down the toughest facts for your essay. The smashing conclusion delivered and the beauty of your writing, all the compelling examples listed in your essay and the perfect formatting your paragraphs are all a waste if your essay has even a single error.

Here is a list of all the common essay writing mistakes and tips to fix them

  • A thesis is the sum of the debate in your essay in just one sentence. Place this statement at the end of the introductory paragraph.
  • The summary of the whole discussion in your essay is essential and must be included. An extra small paragraph is therefore advised at the end of your paper that summarizes the idea.
  • An essay without citing any evidence is of no use and holds no value. It merely becomes your opinion on the issue. To make your essay more effective, include at least one piece of evidence from a book, article or documented source that supports the idea that your essay talks about.
  • Look through your essay for commas. Remove the unnecessary commas and put in the important ones. Commas are generally used in separating a series of nouns or to separate two clauses in a sentence.
  • Highlighting the same issue in every paragraph will cause boredom. It is not advised to repeat the same thing, so make sure each paragraph focuses on different domains — outline before writing your essay and follow it while writing.
  • Your essay must follow the beginning, middle and end structure. You must also segregate the points that you want to address in each of them.
  • Do the transition between paragraphs smoothly. While changing paras, it is essential to transition only when the previous idea is finished and will not continue in this new one. The previous paragraph must focus on a different issue. Thus read the paras properly and try to convey independent messages in each para. 
  • Try not to miss any colon, semi-colon, apostrophes, etc. Read through your essay, solely focusing on punctuation to catch the mistakes.
  • Plagiarism is the enemy here. Plagiarism is when one takes another person's writing, factor text and use it on your own. To remove plagiarism, list all the sources from which you have received text or data in the footnote or internal documentation.
  • Make sure the introduction of your essay serves its purpose. An introduction para is to introduce the issue that your essay addresses. It must also grab the reader's attention. The intro must build up the issue so that the reader is interested to dig into your essay further.
  • One must gracefully exit the essay. Make a quick wrap up sentence. Try including an inspiring or memorable thought into it. An interesting twist of logic or some call of action will also be great.
  • Research what kind of essay writing process is suitable for your essay. Clearly define the claims with reasons and evidence to avoid people to question your work. It ensures the credibility of your work.
  • For first-timers, pick your best idea and try finding points on it. Make a demo structure in your mind as to how the words and facts must be framed. Try writing it now and read it yourself. You will be the first critic of your essay.
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