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What is Proofreading?

Scumbag Brain Meme - Proofreading Trouble

According to The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “proofreading means examining your text carefully to find and correct typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, style, and spelling” (http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Proofreading.html). The Purdue Online Writing Lab gives the same explanation of proofreading, but also adds that this is done “before submitting your paper for an audience (a teacher, a publisher, etc.)” (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/01/). Essentially, you are ensuring that your writing is mistake-free for an audience. That audience could be readers of a blog you are writing or it could be your professor. What is proofreading? In this article, we’ll answer that question in more detail.

First, what you do before proofreading is important to the overall process.

  1. There needs to be a gap of time between when you write and when you proofread. When you are in the process of writing, just write. Don’t worry about catching any errors at that point. Then put your paper aside and go do something else. For example, you can study for another class or go see a new movie at the theater. You should take at least a few hours, but a day away from your paper will be better. Once you come back to your paper, you’ll see mistakes more easily because your mind will be more clear.

  2. Prepare a proofreading checklist before beginning the proofreading process. The process will not be so overwhelming when you do this. Your proofreading checklist should include your most common mistakes. You can find those by looking at rough drafts of your previous writing assignments that have been marked up by your professors.

When it comes time to proofread your paper, here are some tips to follow:

  1. Get rid of any distractions while you are proofreading. That means you can’t proofread your paper while watching your favorite television show or reading your friend’s updates on Facebook. To catch mistakes in your writing, you need to concentrate on the text itself.

  2. Reading the text out loud makes grammatical, spelling and syntax errors stand out. On the other hand, if you read the text silently, you might not notice those errors.

  3. Print out the text that you are proofreading. Don’t just work from a computer screen. Because you read differently on paper as opposed to reading on screen, you’ll notice more errors. Besides, you’ll have to read through that paper at least a few times. Looking at a printout instead of a computer screen helps to prevent computer fatigue, which can greatly affect what mistakes are noticed. That is because a major symptom of computer fatigue is eye strain.

When you do print out your paper to proofread, make sure it is double-spaced. It should already be that way since most professors require papers to be double-spaced. This is so you have room to mark up the paper.

  1. The spelling and grammar checks in word processors are good, and you should use them as part of the proofreading process. But they will not catch every error, such as run-on sentences. You need to be sure to use the spelling and grammar check before printing out the paper for further proofreading.

  2. If you have written plenty of papers in college, then there is probably a mistake you keep on making. If you are working from a computer screen, the search function can help you find common mistakes. You can refer to your proofreading checklist for those common mistakes. Again, this is to be done before working from a printout.

  3. Start from the end of the paper instead of the beginning. Also, read from right to left. When doing this, you will pay attention to individual words and catch spelling mistakes more easily.

  4. Use a dictionary to make sure a word is the right word to use. You really need to keep a lookout for homonyms, which are words that share the same pronunciation or spelling, but mean something completely different. For example, effect and affect are homonyms. But an effect is a result of something, and affect means to influence something, such as a person or an event.

  5. Focus on one type of error at a time. For example, you can focus first on sentence structure, then move to other types of errors, such as spelling and punctuation, making sure to only focus on one of those at a time. This means reading through your paper several times. However, by focusing your attention on one type of error at a time, you are more likely to catch all of the errors in your paper.

  6. Make sure the information that you are presenting in your paper is accurate. This is important when you are writing for a college class because inaccurate information, in additional to spelling and grammar errors, can also lead to a bad grade.

  7. Do not rush through the process. Read through the paper slowly and you’ll catch mistakes more easily.

  8. Ensure that the paper adheres to the style guide that your professor requires for the paper. In college, this is usually MLA or APA.

Once you are done proofreading, have someone else look at your paper for you. This can be your friend or it can be someone in the writing or academic help center at your University. This should be done even if you’ve combed through the document a hundred times. Another set of eyes may notice a mistake that you didn’t notice for some reason.

Another thing that is noticeable from the definition of proofreading described above is that it is a time-consuming process. If you are a full-time student, then you have loads of other coursework that you need to do. In fact, most college classes, no matter the difficulty, require a substantial amount of work. Plus, you may have a job that you need in order to pay bills. Also, like most college students, may also have a social life. To help you save time, Prescott Papers, a custom writing service, offers valuable and professional proofreading services at an affordable price.

Prescott Papers, located at www.prescottpapers.com, uses qualified people such as academics and professionals to meet your proofreading needs. Our proofreaders are meticulous people who are experienced in finding mistakes in text. They also understand the importance of turning in a paper to a professor that is mistake-free. Our proofreaders have been through college themselves.

Our proofreaders will make sure that your paper meets the standard university guidelines for your particular university as well as style requirements. We are familiar with all the different style guides, and will focus the proofreading that we do on your paper to the particular style guide that your professor requires you to use for the paper.

Here are other benefits of using Prescott Papers for proofreading services:

  1. All of our professional proofreaders are native English speakers. They are also based in the United States. They are knowledgeable about US spelling, grammatical and punctuation rules.

  2. We utilize the “Track Changes” tool in Microsoft Word so you can see the changes that are made. This allows you to accept or reject those changes.

  3. Each proofreader is qualified because they had to pass an assessment before being hired by Prescott Papers as a proofreader. This assessment is rigorous because we want to ensure that our professional proofreaders know what they are doing.

  4. To maintain our reputation for quality customer service, there will also be another person besides the proofreader that will look at your paper. We do this because we want to make sure your paper is completely free of any mistakes. We believe in providing a high quality service.

  5. We will also maintain confidentiality. That is 100% guaranteed. Your documents as well as your personal information are kept completely private. Our proofreaders sign confidentiality agreements, meaning if they fail to maintain your privacy regarding this service, they can face legal consequences. Also, any documents and information that is sent to and from us is highly encrypted.

  6. Our human-run support is fast and reliable. You can call or email us at any time to get an updated status on your proofreading order and to ask any questions.

  7. We are also flexible and willing to work according to your timeline. If you have a paper that is due the next day, we can work on getting it proofread for you within that timeframe. Rush orders are always accepted.

When it comes to proofreading, it is important to learn how to do it yourself. You will need to use the skill not only in college, but in business as well. You will be taken more seriously at work if your emails and reports are free of spelling, grammar, organizational and word usage errors. However, using the professional proofreading services at Prescott Papers saves you time and is well worth the money. Plus, your satisfaction is our top priority, so our proofreaders will give 100% effort when working on your paper.

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