The Art of Proofreading and Editing

This article will provide you some tips to revise your work.

Editing and proofreading: are they the same?

They are not exactly. The two are different stages in the process of revision. The two methods require careful and close reading through other techniques that get applied in each.

Tips that work for both proofreading and editing

  • Give some time after reading. It is an uphill task to edit a text right after you have finished writing it. You will find it familiar, and skipping errors and mistakes can get quite common. Give some few hours, days, or weeks for the paper. Clear your brain and take a new look at the text. You can also report to a friend and let them go through it to find some fresh mistakes and errors.
  • Decide what makes you proofread efficiently. Some individuals prefer working at computers while others like to go over printed copies.
  • Change the outlook of the text. You can alter the color, style, and size of the reader to trigger your brain into believing that you are looking at a new document, and that can help you view it from a different perspective.
  • Get a serene place to work. Avoid proofreading in front of a TV or while working out. Find a site that is quiet and where you can concentrate fully.
  • Suppose you can opt to do your editing in short time intervals. If you sit to proofread a lengthy document, you may wander in your mind and jump some errors.


It is what you do after finishing your initial draft. In this process, you get required to reread your text to find out if it is well-organized, if there are smooth transitions between the paragraphs and if your evidence gives meaning to your arguments. You can do this on several levels:


Check whether you have done all the requirements of the paper and whether your claims are accurate. If you have made an argument, check whether it is complete. Support your points with adequate evidence.


Check whether your paper has the appropriate intro and conclusion. Make sure your thesis statement is clear and that your paragraphs are concerning with the thesis. Make explicit transitions between your blocks and make sure that they get arranged logically.

The structure within paragraphs

Make sure that each paragraph has a vivid topic sentence and that they stick to one main idea.


Define vague terminologies that the reader may fail to understand. The sentences should be clear, and the pronouns should get pointing at the referrals. Choose appropriate words to express your ideas.


Check your tone and the use of gendered text and language. Check the structure and length of your sentences. Avoid using passive voice a lot and omit unnecessary phrases.


It is the last and final stage of the process of editing, and it mainly focuses on grammatical and punctuation mistakes and misspellings. Take to this process only after finishing the editing process.

You may ask yourself why proofreading is essential, while, after all, it is the content that matters. Well, the truth of the matter is that most readers will judge your work by the way it appears or looks. You will not want your readers to get distracted by careless mistakes after toiling to get your paper done. Pay close attention to those elements and details that will impress the reader.

Several people will only devote a couple of minutes to proofread their work. Try and have a definite plan that will assist you in finding mistakes and errors.

The process of proofreading

  • Do not rely on spell checkers. It is because they have a limited dictionary. They may fail to catch some misspellings.
  • Grammar checkers can turn out to be problematic since they work with limited rules and, therefore, cannot identify all errors.
  • Proofread for one kind of error each time. If you get bulky with too many things at once, you may lose focus, making your proofreading process less effective. You will quickly correct grammatical mistakes when not checking spelling or punctuation at the same time.
  • Make your reading slow and go over every word. If you can, read out loud as it will force you to pronounce each word and let you hear them together as they sound. When you get hasty in your reading, you may jump over errors.

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