Hints for proofreading your essay

If you’re like the vast majority of today’s students, you’ve probably relied on your word processing software to do most of the work when proofreading your essay. And if you’re seeking tips on how better to proofread your essay, then something has indicated that this isn’t sufficient. Don’t worry! There are some easy strategies to use to create a polished, proofread, final draft—we’ll cover them here.

Why Not Use Software?

You absolutely should make use of your word processing software, which will catch and correct many mistakes for you. However, you’ve likely been told that there are still mistakes in your essays. What’s going on?

The problem is that word processing software simply isn’t advanced enough to catch every mistake. It can certainly catch outright misspellings, but it’s not going to catch every misuse of a homonym, for example. While some homonym misuse may show up as a grammatical error, not all will. As for grammar, there are sentences which might seem grammatically correct to your software, but because of factors it can’t take into account, it’s identifying them as such falsely.

Better Proofreading

The first step to a more polished essay is, of course, proofreading it yourself, manually. To do so, it’s a good idea to print the essay out, and underline or highlight each line as you check it for errors. In a different color of ink, indicate places where you’ve found mistakes, so you can correct them later.

The second step to a well proofread essay is to have someone else look over the essay after you’ve corrected the first mistakes you found. What’s the value in having a second pair of eyes? There are two good reasons for enlisting the help of a second proofreader. The first is that you may make mistakes you don’t know are mistakes. The second is that it’s much harder for a writer to identify their own mistakes, because they tend to see what they believe they wrote instead of reading the physical page that they’ve printed out.

Professional Proofreaders

Depending on the importance of the essay to your grade (or academic career in general), hiring a professional proofreader is a good idea. Professional proofreaders have a true talent for finding mistakes other may gloss over, and they also have years of experience in looking for common misspellings and grammar errors that might go unnoticed by anyone else.

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