9 Proofreading Tips for Academic Writing

This article will give you a couple of simple proofreading tips to improve your academic writing, such as your dissertation, thesis, or college essays. First, you should know that proofreading is a task that is different from editing. Although they share some of the same skills, these tasks are not synonymous with each other.

17.11.2020

9 Proofreading Tips for Academic Writing

This handout provides nine proofreading tips and strategies for academic writing. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.

Best proofreading tips to improve your writing

This blog will give you a couple of simple proofreading tips to improve your academic writing, such as your dissertation, thesis, or college essays. First, you should know that proofreading is a task that is different from editing. Although they share some of the same skills, these tasks are not synonymous with each other. The verification benefits of a reliable editing process exceed the framework of the traditional definition of proofreading. Because, on the one hand, proofreading is not creative; neither is it intended to be. It is only about checking punctuation, spelling, missing details, and so on.

The text is already created and set, and proofreading comes along to catch any superficial errors that may have been overlooked.  On the other hand, editing involves the process of substituting vocabulary, synonyms, homonyms, antonyms, whole texts, recasting sentences, paraphrasing, and in the end, sometimes a new text is created without even changing the originally intended idea of the author! That is the art of editing. The editor’s purpose is creative. With proofreading, this is not achievable. In short, proofreading is not intended to be creative at al.

Editor as an architect vs. proofreader as an inspector

Here is an analogy: An architect (like the editor) can take an old house and refurbish it by removing walls and replacing them with new materials, adding rooms, removing floors, setting up new flower gardens, and in the end, it is a newly created house with the same foundation. Then, the housing inspector (the proofreader) from the government comes along to make sure that everything is properly in place, especially details for safety precautions; he does not come to create anything. The proofreader’s purpose is not creative.  

Whether you are writing a manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal, a graduate paper, a dissertation, a thesis, an essay, or an official email to a company, it is essential to get your paper error-free. A spell checker or a Google tool might help improve the text, but it is far from the proofreading that you need. Here, proofreading gains importance.

The following nine best proofreading tips will make your papers shine.

1: Concentration is key for proofreading

Marking mistakes is the first step of the best proofreading. If it is going to be your first step, then it is essential to concentrate on this proofreading tip. Forget distractors: mobile gadgets, TV, the Internet, etc. 

2: One step at a time

  • Pick one common error at a time and fix it first. This proofreading tip gives you the idea that it is easier for the brain to focus on one specific issue at a time, and you are less likely to miss any mistake. 

  • Perhaps you could begin with the format of the document as the starting point of proofreading. Check that it is in line with the requirements.

3: Pay attention to homonyms

  • ‘Homonyms are one of a group of words pronounced or spelled in the same way but having different meanings’ (Source: Collins dictionary). 

  • When proofreading, be careful with switching vocabularies! Doing so could lead to catastrophic results. 

4: Checking punctuation is one of the key elements of proofreading

  • When concentrating on the words, do not ignore the punctuation marks. It is one of the most important proofreading tips for academic writing. 

  • Watch out for commas, quotation marks, apostrophe, colon, semicolon, etc. whether or not they are used correctly.  

  • Stop at every punctuation mark to make sure you’ve used them properly. 

  • People usually make mistakes with the apostrophe, mixing ”their” and ”they’re”, ”your”, and ”you’re”, and ”its” and ”it’s’‘ and so on. One golden rule of proofreading: Never use an apostrophe to form plurals, such as in 3’s, do’s, don’t’s and CEO’s. The correct forms are 3s, dos, donts, and CEOs.

 best proofreading tips

5: Rules of capitalization

  • It is important to note that, with regard to professional proofreading or academic writing, capitalization is more than simply knowing to start names and surnames with capital letters. When it comes to proofreading, it requires more attention. Focus on the rules of capitalization is of importance for the best proofreading.

  • Pay attention to proper nouns, don’t forget to capitalize the names of people, places, and things that are designated as proper nouns. Check out 15 basic capitalization rules for English grammar to get more information about capitalization rules.

6: Verify spellings of names and titles

  • On your proofreading journey, Google is one of your fellow travelers.

  • When you proofread, don’t neglect to look up the proper spelling of company names, product names, and titles and verify them with Google search. Verifying days, dates, and places of the events is essential, as well.

7: Print out the proofread paper and read it aloud

  • Here another useful proofreading tip. When you have finished with the proofreading, print out the paper. You may spot several errors that you have missed on the screen.

  • Printing out the paper also gives you the chance to look at the paper in a different medium, that is, as a hard copy rather than in an electronic format. It also allows you to correct words. 

  • Moreover, reading aloud will allow you to spot errors. When a sentence sounds incorrect, use one of the online paraphrasing tools to proofread the sentence.

8: Read it again

  • When writing or proofreading on a computer, people mostly become blind to their own mistakes because our brains mechanically fix incorrect words in our minds. 

  • In order to break this pattern, it is essential to read the paper attentively again. 

9: Get a third person to proofread it again

  • When you have finished with proofreading, it is always a good idea to have someone proofread it for you. A fresh pair of eyes will absolutely improve the outcome of your proofreading efforts and paper more brilliant than before. 

  • Your extra pair of eyes might be your friends, your family members, co-workers, even your middle or high school students. You will be surprised at the mistakes you may have overlooked. 

If you need help, then contact us!

Best Edit & Proof expert editors aim to provide your manuscripts with proper scholarly and academic tone and style. They will significantly improve the chances of having your research manuscript accepted for publishing. They provide subject-area proofreading and editing services in several fields categorized under various disciplines. With our extensive knowledge and expertise, we will help you find the right tone and style for your manuscript.

If you need our subject-area editors to format your manuscripts, giving you the fundamental rules for formatting your manuscripts as described in your guidelines, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian styles, then contact us. At Best Edit & Proof, our proofreaders and editors edit every type of academic paper. We have a user-friendly website, and a simplified the ordering process. 

If you would like our subject-area editors and language experts to work on your project for the improvement of its academic tone and style, then please visit the order page. It is easy! It takes only a few minutes to submit your paper and complete the process. Click here to see how it works.

We have flat-rate pricing based on our type of service (editing or proofreading), word count, and turnaround time. Enter your word count or copy and paste your document into our pricing calculator to get an instant quote.

best proofreading tips

If you need support for editing and proofreading services, contact us. You can also e-mail us or use the 24/7 live chat module to get direct support. We have a 24/7 active live chat mode to offer you direct support along with qualified editors to refine and furbish your manuscript. Alternatively, you can text us through our WhatsApp business line.

Stay tuned for updated information about editing and proofreading services!

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