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How to Proofread your Essay
Schools love to assign essays. It seems like any class you take has some form of essay requirement barring your way – but do teachers really prepare you for the reality of essay writing? They teach your about the stages of writing – brainstorming, outlining, drafting and proofreading – but do you realize the one area they never concentrate on? That’s right – proofreading. You basically get a few fundamental grammar classes in the beginning of your career, and that’s the long and short of proofreading. You need proofreading skills in order to produce a great essay, so to help you along, we’ve compiled a competent how-to guide to proofreading any and all essay assignments:
- Use a proofreading guide. Odds are, you’re not exactly savvy at proofreading. Don’t feel bad about it; practically no one, unless they specifically study and work as a proofreader, is familiar with proofreading techniques and strategies. For this reason, it’s helpful to locate a proofreading guide. This guide may be textual or internet-based, but just ensure it can guide you competently through the proofreading process. Also make sure you have grammatical and spelling references on hand in order to check for slight, subtle errors in your text.
- Check for spelling errors and spatial first. These will be the easiest to catch, and it amounts to more than simple spelling ‘communication’ as ‘communecation.’ It also means identifying whether you need to use ‘to’ or ‘too,’ ‘your’ or ‘you’re,’ or the multiple ‘there’ spellings (‘their’ and ‘they’re’ included). If you’re unsure about the spelling on any word, use a dictionary or internet source to guide you. Also use this time to find forgotten spaces, extra spaces, forgotten indents or other spatial issues.
- Check for grammatical errors second. Overall English grammar is astronomically trickier than correcting a few spelling mistakes. When you review your essay for grammatical accuracy, you have to take particular care. This means having a reference text or online guide to help you through the difficulties of English grammar. Sentence structure, subject verb agreement, verb tense and other grammatical issues are sure to be lingering in some corner of your essay, so make sure to check for them!
- Check for overall competency. Nitpicking for grammatical and spelling accuracy is great, but too much of that can still interfere with the overall tone of your assignment. After your preliminary proofreading tasks, go back and reread your entire essay. Make sure it’s composed, clear and competent in every possible way; otherwise, revise it to improve clarity and correctness.
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