How To Proofread An Essay

Sure, this takes a little extra time, but it pays off in the end.

(See our handout on paragraph development.) Have you defined any important terms that might be unclear to your reader? (One way to answer this question is to read your paper one sentence at a time, starting at the end and working backwards so that you will not unconsciously fill in content from previous sentences.) Is it clear what each pronoun (he, she, it, they, which, who, this, etc.) refers to?

Have you chosen the proper words to express your ideas?

Is your thesis clearly stated in your introduction?

Is it clear how each paragraph in the body of your paper is related to your thesis? Have you made clear transitions between paragraphs?

We consulted these works while writing this handout.

This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find the latest publications on this topic.You probably already use some of the strategies discussed below.Experiment with different tactics until you find a system that works well for you.It’s worth paying attention to the details that help you to make a good impression.Most people devote only a few minutes to proofreading, hoping to catch any glaring errors that jump out from the page.But a quick and cursory reading, especially after you’ve been working long and hard on a paper, usually misses a lot.It’s better to work with a definite plan that helps you to search systematically for specific kinds of errors.When you are editing an early draft, you don’t want to be bothered with thinking about punctuation, grammar, and spelling.If your worrying about the spelling of a word or the placement of a comma, you’re not focusing on the more important task of developing and connecting ideas.Do you repeat a strong word (for example, a vivid main verb) unnecessarily?(For tips, see our handouts on style and gender-inclusive language.) Have you appropriately cited quotes, paraphrases, and ideas you got from sources? (See the UNC Libraries citation tutorial for more information.) As you edit at all of these levels, you will usually make significant revisions to the content and wording of your paper.


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