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Proofreading Checklist

It is vital to have a proofreading checklist. First, it saves time. Second, using one makes it less likely that you will miss an error. The checklist allows you to work methodically while you are proofreading. The following is one example of what a checklist for proofreading can look like. I have included explanations as well.

  1. Formatting

  1. Do the page margins conform to the professor’s requirements?

  2. Is the line spacing correct as per the professor’s requirements?

  3. Does the heading style match what the professor is requiring?

  4. Is the position of the page numbers correct according to the professor’s requirements?

  5. Is the font type face and size consistent throughout the entire document? (exception would be headings if they are used. Those may be a larger font).

  6. Look at the text that is in bold face, italics, underlined, or in any other special format. Is it necessary?

  1. Documentation

  1. Do all the in-text citations and references on the works cited page match? Each in-text citation should have a subscript that points to a corresponding reference on the works cited page. You need to make sure it is not pointing to the incorrect reference.

  2. Are all citations and references formatted correctly?

  1. Grammar

  1. Are there any apostrophe errors?

For example, did you put “it’s” when it should be “its”. Another example would be “you’re” verses “your”. You use “you’re” when you are saying “you are”. “Your” indicates your ownership of something.

  1. Are there any comma splices?

In other words, are there two clauses separated by a comma that are independent of each other? In that case, they need to be two separate sentences, or separated by a semicolon instead. The exception would be if there is a coordinating conjunction such as “and” or “but”

Example: “Cathy rain out into the street, the dog ran out after her.” Both parts of that complex sentences are independent clauses that stand out on their own. Instead, they can be two separate sentences.

  1. Are there any unnecessary commas?

Example: “Jack wanted to be either a psychologist, or a musician.” The comma does not need to be there. The correct sentence is as follows: “Jack wanted to be either a psychologist or a musician.”

  1. Are there any omitted commas that should not be omitted?

Commas are necessary in certain situations. For example, when you write a list of things, ideas, or people into a series. “Oliver went to the store and bought these four items: eggs, milk, bread, and cheese.”

Another instance is when a comma is necessary is when a dependent clause starts off a sentence. Example: Because Jill needed to be at the conference early in the morning on Friday, she flew in from California on Thursday.”

  1. Are you using the correct pronoun forms?

Whether the pronoun is an object, a subject, or a possessive, the pronoun form needs to match. This is known as pronoun-antecedent agreement. The antecedent is the clause, phrase or word that the pronoun is referring to.

To illustrate, take a look at the following sentence: “When President Obama met with the German Chancellor, both he and Angela Merkel were in agreement in regards to Syria.” In this sentence, the pronoun form of “he” is incorrect. It should read as follows: “When President Obama met with the German Chancellor, both him and Angela Merkel were in agreement in regards to Syria.” “him” is the correct pronoun form in this case

  1. Do the following pronouns; those, which, that, these, they, this and it; clearly refer to nouns?

When you are using those words, it needs to be clear what noun they are referring to. For instance: “Many people attended Comicon over all four days. They wanted to see their favorite celebrities.” “They” refers to “people”.

  1. In cases where there are sentences with a series of two or more matching items, do the sentence elements for each item match grammatically?

  2. Are there any misplaced and dangling modifiers?

Modifiers provide a description in sentences. Modifiers need to be near the word that they are describing.

  1. Are there any sentences that contain too many equally weighted independent clauses?

  2. Are there any run-on sentences?

These are sentences containing independent clauses that are not connected to each other.

  1. Are there any sentence fragments?

Each sentence should have at least one independent clause. An independent clause contains both a subject and a verb. Plus, it needs to be a complete thought. For example, “When you finally get to the airport” is a sentence fragment. We don’t know what you are going to do after you get to the airport.

  1. Does each sentence have subject-verb agreement?

Example: “Chelsea and her friends are at the beach” has correct subject-verb agreement. But if you use “is” in place of “are”, the sentence would not be correct.

  1. Are there any improper plurals?

  2. Is there any other missing, misused, or incorrectly placed punctuation marks (dashes, hyphens, semicolons, etc.)?

  1. Are there any misspellings in the document?

  2. Word Usage

  1. Are there any words that can be easily confused with other words? Is that particular word the correct choice?

For instance, there is accept and except. This sentence: “Mrs. Brown could except the consequences of her actions” is incorrect due to the word usage. The correct sentence is “Mrs. Brown could accept the consequences of her actions”.

  1. Are there any words that are incorrectly used in a sentence?

When you are working through a checklist like this, you’ll have to read through your paper several times. It is better to focus on one part of the checklist at a time. This does not have to be the checklist that you use, either. It’s just a suggestion. If a checklist that is differently formatted works better for you, go with that one.

You can also get your paper proofread by one of our experienced proofreaders at Prescott Papers. Our proofreaders work through similar checklists to make sure that all errors in grammar, formatting, spelling, and word usage are found and corrected. They pay so much attention to detail that the likelihood they will miss an error is low. Having the professionals proofread your paper is an excellent way to make sure you get a great grade on your paper.

All in all, using a checklist when you are proofreading a document yourself can make it all the difference. When you are ready to have another set of eyes look at your document for you, the affordable proofreading services are Prescott Papers are your best bet.

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