We’ve all had assignments returned to us covered in marks and corrections.
After looking over our work, we see how easily we could have prevented the errors. Here are a few strategies for proofreading before you hand in your next assignment.
Take a Break
Give yourself time between writing and proofing. Even a five-minute break is productive because it will help you get some distance from what you have written. The goal is to return with a fresh eye and mind.
Many errors are made by speeding through writing and proofreading. Take your time to look over your writing carefully. This will help you catch errors you might otherwise miss. Always read through your writing slowly. If you read at a normal speed, you won’t give your eyes sufficient time to spot errors.
While reading, put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Playing the role of the reader encourages you to see the paper as your audience might.
Get a Second Opinion
Asking a friend or a Writing Studio tutor to read your paper will let you get another perspective on your writing and a fresh reader will be able to help you catch mistakes that you might have overlooked.
Read your Paper Aloud
Any time your text is awkward or confusing, or any time you have to pause or reread your text, revise this section. If it is at all awkward for you, you can bet it will be awkward for your reader. This strategy will also help you find doubled words, missing words, and spelling errors. The key is to read exactly what you see on the page.
Examine your Paragraphs
Examine the overall “look” of your paragraphs, looking specifically at length, supporting sentences, and topic sentence. Individual paragraphs that are significantly lacking length or sufficient supporting information may be a sign of a premature or under-developed thought.
Create a Checklist
Make a list of common errors. One by one, examine your paper for the errors on your list. When you have completed one type of error, check it off and move on to another one on your checklist.
Track Frequent Errors
Keep track of errors that you make frequently in a notebook or planner. Ask your teacher or visit the Writing Studio for assistance in eliminating these errors. If you can identify the error, it will be easier to fix.
- Campus Address
- Writing Studio, Kemp Library
- Title of Department Leader
- Director, Writing Studio
- Sandra Eckard
- (570) 422-3593