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Tackle the Essay: Proofreading

Proofreading is an essential part of the entire writing process. Though it may seem tedious at first, when you proofread your essay, and make corrections and edits, you are making it better. Effective proofreading can be made into a simple task if you approach it in an organized manner.

Here’s how to tackle proofreading your essay:

    Use spell checker and grammar checker.

    Nowadays, most people have access to a word processor to write their essays. As you write your essay it’s a good idea to have both the spell checker and grammar checker functions turned on to make corrections as you go. It’s preferable if you make verify each correction as you go instead of allowing your checkers to make corrections automatically. Auto corrections aren’t always accurate and could be disastrous if you leave them in.

    Print a copy of your essay and make manual corrections.

    Printing a copy of your essay makes it a lot easier to catch mistakes and also provides a way for you to underline, scratch out, or circle parts of the essay you may want to revise. A printed copy also makes it easier for someone else to look if you decide on having a fresh set of eyes review your essay. Your proofreader may make comments or suggestions in the margins without being able to change the content of your work.

    Look for specific elements in each read-through.

    Don’t overwhelm yourself by looking for a number of different things at once. Break your proofreading into smaller tasks. Start by reviewing your thesis and asking yourself if it makes sense. Next, make sure your writing adequately supports your argument. Do this in three sections, first reading the essay as a whole, then at the paragraph level, then finally at the sentence level.

    Make sure your introduction is concise and developed. Review your conclusion and make sure it summarizes your essay content. Finally, make sure your paragraphs transition effectively. A good edit should eliminate useless and excessive words.


Proofreading your essays will become easier the more you practice. But make sure that you don’t just breeze by the exercise once it becomes second nature. Keep in mind that writing is a process with several stages. Proofreading is just as important as the moment you develop your thesis, so don’t think you can skip it and still expect your writing to earn high grades.