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Become a Master in Proofreading

Proofreading is as tedious as it is rewarding, and correcting yourself is far less painful than being corrected by others.

What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the act of reading written work, either your own or someone else's, with the intention of identifying errors that need to be corrected. Proofreading a piece of work usually means that you are looking for these types of errors: spelling, punctuation use, typos, syntax issues, formatting issues, accuracy, and consistency, as well as other grammar issues that makes the writing look sloppy and underdeveloped.

What Should You Bother?

When you take the time to proofread, you are showing that you not only care about the work you are producing but that you care about the person who is reading your work. When you don't proofread your work, you are essentially saying that you don't care about what you have written, and when you don't care about what you have written, why should anyone else care to read your work? As a college student turning in writing assignments and essays, you should care a great deal about your work because you are submitting your work for a grade, and if it looks like you turned in something that you don't care about, why should your instructor take the time to care and give you a good grade?

Does It Really Matter?

It really does matter: as a student, it matters because oftentimes your grade depends on the quality of work you are submitting, and it will matter a great deal when you enter your career because your job will depend on the quality of work you are producing. Even something as simple as a sloppy email can have an impact on your job performance. Proofreading = Success

Why You Should Proofread

💖Proofreading Is Useful

Proofreading is useful because it shows respect for your work as well as your reader. When you take the time to thoroughly proofread and revise your work, you are saying that you have pride in your work and that you want to show others your very best. Sloppy work = Disrespect.

💖Proofreading is Satisfying

Proofreading is quite satisfying once you get past the tedium of rereading your work multiple times. It becomes a challenge to find and fix your errors. It is especially satisfying when you get an assignment back your grade reflects the time you spent revising.

Proofreading Tips and Tricks

Use tools, such as the spelling and grammar checker in word processing programs, and websites, such as Grammarly to help you proofread and revise.


While proofreading programs can be a huge help, they are not 100% effective in identifying errors accurately. You need to improve your proofreading skills through practice because these programs are not infallible and will often overcorrect or miss mistakes. Your brain is the best tool you have so use it well and use it often to improve your proofreading skills!

  • Proofread by reading your work out loud. Your eyes and brain will try to trick you into overlooking errors in your work that your ears will pick up when you read your work out loud, especially when it comes to checking your syntax and flow.

  • Proofread your work in small sections as you write; working on one paragraph at a time makes revising more manageable. Then, once you have completed your work, proofread the whole piece several times.

  • Use a ruler to help you read line by line so that your eyes are not trying to read ahead of your brain.

  • Read your work backward: strange as it sounds, working backward one sentence at a time will trick your brain into focusing on the sentence by itself rather than as a piece of the larger work.

  • Take a break after each proofreading session. Fresh eyes will help identify errors that you might have missed the last time! Eye fatigue can lead to additional or missed errors.

  • Make a list of the most common errors that you tend to make so that you can actively work on correcting those errors as you go. Eventually, you will find that you make those types of errors less and less.

  • In addition to having a list of your most common errors, proofread for those errors one at a time. EX - Proofread once for just spelling errors. Take a break. Then, proofread just for punctuation errors. Take a break. Next, proofread for syntax errors. Take a break. Repeat until you have covered all your common errors.

  • Get a second opinion. Have someone you trust to read your work. Maybe a family member, your instructor, or your friendly Reading and Writing Center tutor!

  • Be open to constructive criticism. Read and ask questions about the feedback you get, especially if it is feedback from your instructor on an assignment. Improvement does not come without correction.

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