A guide for proofreading college term papers and essays
The ability to read a paper or essay stems in large part from the flow of the writing. If the writing is free of mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, a reader will follow the text in a more focused fashion. On the other hand, if a reader encounters mistake after mistake, they will eventually put the paper down, never completing the written work. For a novel, newspaper article, or blog on the internet, the result will be a lack of interest, and a corresponding decrease in the purchase of that particular author's writings. For a college student, the consequences could be a failing grade, leading to failing the course, which may hinder graduation. There are some tools to use to aid you in proofreading your paper or essay.
Proofreading is done when all writing is finished, including revisions. It is difficult to proofread one's own work, so it would be best if someone else could do it for you. However, if you have no choice, than try and separate the proofreading from the completion of writing. When you proofread concentrate on one line at a time, starting from the end of the document. This will enable you to read the paper without being swayed by the context. Finally, when proofreading, do not look for every mistake in one reading, but allow enough time to do multiple reviews for different types of errors.
Spelling and Grammar
The first step is to look for any spelling and grammatical errors. With today's modern technology, this should be an easy task. You should still read through every line to make sure that no errors slipped past your word processor.
Another area of concern for your paper or essay is proper citations. Plagiarism is a serious offense. Any material taken from any other source must be properly cited, so all references should be double checked for accuracy.
It is important that the structure of the sentence is proper. For example, is the first letter capitalized, are abbreviations used correctly, are there any repeated or omitted words.
This is a final complete look at the essay or paper. You must examine margins, line spacing, indentations, headings, font size and type, old face, underlines, and italicized words. The goal is consistency and flow.
Proofreading is not an easy task, especially when reviewing your own work. But, it can make the difference between success and failure.