When you have typed
or printed out your revised and edited essay,
give it a final careful inspection to correct
Time Required: 30 minutes
- Check your weakest area. If you are a poor
speller, highlight any words you are in doubt
about. If commas are your nemesis, check all
of them. If you confuse word choice, check that.
- Check your punctuation carefully. Look over
places where you have used semicolons and colons,
check for incomplete sentences, and be sure
quotation marks and parentheses come in pairs.
- Check spelling throughout. If you can, use
a computer spelling checker, but remember that
such programs are most useful for catching typographical
errors. They don't catch important errors in
- Check the format of your paper, including
layout. Be sure that titles are italicized and
that quotations are indented when appropriate.
Also, if this is classroom related, review any
guidelines from the teacher.
- Get help from your friends. Proofreading
can be tedious. When you are reading a paper
for the second or third time, it's easy to miss
errors. Enlist a fresh eye if you can.
- Leave plenty of time before the paper is
due for proofreading. Catching glaring errors
can often dramatically improve your grade.
- If you have a question about word choice,
usage, or other language issues, you can usually
take advantage of the professor's office hour,
the staff at the Writing Center, or many online
- Try reading your essay out loud. Hearing
the flow of the sentences can often help you
to catch mistakes. You may also try reading
the paper to a friend and asking him/her to
give you feedback.