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

Best proofreading tips to improve your academic writing

This article gives you a couple of simple proofreading tips to improve your academic writing, i.e. 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 considered 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/she 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 work 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 task

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 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'’ ( 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 importance of 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 will be 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 us to make your manuscript shine, contact us unhesitatingly!

Best Edit & Proof expert editors and proofreaders focus on offering manuscripts with proper tone, content, and style of academic writing, and also provide an upscale editing and proofreading service for you. If you consider our pieces of advice, you will witness a notable increase in the chance for your research manuscript to be accepted by the publishers. We work together as an academic writing style guide by bestowing subject-area editing and proofreading around several categorized writing styles. With the group of our expert editors, you will always find us all set to help you identify the tone and style that your manuscript needs to get a nod from the publishers.

English manuscript formatting service

You can also avail of our assistance if you are looking for editors who can format your manuscript, or just check on the particular styles for the formatting task as per the guidelines provided to you, e.g., APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian styles. Best Edit & Proof editors and proofreaders provide all sorts of academic writing help, including editing and proofreading services, using our user-friendly website, and a streamlined ordering process.

Get a free quote for editing and proofreading now!

Visit our order page if you want our subject-area editors or language experts to work on your manuscript to improve its tone and style and give it a perfect academic tone and style through proper editing and proofreading. The process of submitting a paper is very easy and quick. Click here to find out how it works.

Our pricing is based on the type of service you avail of here, be it editing or proofreading. We charge on the basis of the word count of your manuscript that you submit for editing and proofreading and the turnaround time it takes to get it done. If you want to get an instant price quote for your project, copy and paste your document or enter your word count into our pricing calculator.

Proofreading tips

24/7 customer support | Live support

Contact us to get support with academic editing and proofreading. We have a 24/7 active live chat mode to offer you direct support along with qualified editors to refine and furbish your manuscript.

Proofreading tips

Stay tuned for updated information about editing and proofreading services!

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn,  Facebook, Instagram, and Medium.

For more posts, click here. 

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.

They Also Read

Editing Proofreading
Editing and Proofreading — Know the Crucial Differences
17.11.2020

When you start with academic writing, it is easy to confuse editing and proofreading. Each service requires close and careful reading but uses different methods and focuses on different aspects of the manuscript. Both services produce different outcomes for writers, and therefore, our potential clients must be aware of what they do. As a beginner, you may make the same common mistake as the rest, but we are here to help things set straight. In this article, we will learn the exact meaning behind these two concepts, what they are, and how they are different from each other.

Continue Reading
Editing & Proofreading Editing Proofreading
4 Common Editing and Proofreading Mistakes
17.11.2020

To err is human, and the same applies to the field of editing and proofreading. No matter how much of an expert you are or how much experience you have, you are bound to make mistakes. Especially for a field like this, where you need to be meticulous, it is natural for you to miss out on words or make some typing errors. This article is more targeted toward people who are new to editing and proofreading and want to avoid making mistakes.

Continue Reading
Editing & Proofreading
Get Started with Proofreading for Academic Writing
17.11.2020

Academic writing requires precision and accuracy, with special attention to formats and writing style. Therefore, being careless in this case is not an option. But even though it is such a meticulous form of writing, enough practice and the right advice can help you skillfully master it. Proofreading (and editing) is one such means to achieve perfection in academic writing. If you ever wonder whether proofreading and editing are required for academic writing, the answer is yes. Without them, you will not be able to reach the full potential of your work. Therefore, if you are thinking of getting started with it for your academic writing, here is a good place to begin.

Continue Reading