Academic writing is usually used in universities and scholarly publications like theses, essays, and articles. It usually uses a formal tone and style. Academic writing has to be clear, concise, and balanced. In addition to that, it also should be focused, correct, and well-structured. We are all bound to make some mistakes when writing long articles, theses, or essays. That is where proofreading comes into play.
Proofreading is a crucial step in writing that is usually done before submitting the final output of your work. It involves reading your work to check for spelling, typographical, and grammatical errors that are commonly observed in writing. It is a way to make sure that little errors that you have made when writing are fixed to avoid distracting your readers. We can admit that proofreading can be a tedious job that most writers wish to skip. However, proofreading does not require much difficulty. Hence, here is a list of tips to make your proofreading easier:
Take a Few Steps Back
Distance yourself from your work once you’ve finished your writing. It’s a good practice to put down your work for a few hours or even days before you begin proofreading. This allows your brain to take some time off from your writing and enable you to have a fresher start whenever you are proofreading a document. Think of it as having a newer perspective on your writing. Sometimes when you get invested in your writing, you tend to skip on the small errors because you are only focused on the content itself. Refresh and allow yourself to relax a bit before taking on the project of searching for those document errors.
Print It Out
Try printing out your document before you proofread it. This way, you get a chance to view your work from a different perspective and not just from your computer screen. This will give you the chance to read your work as a reader and not as a writer. It will also help you to visualize the errors with much ease, especially when you manually encircle or underline the errors. Changing your visual format will help you visualize your work in a different and effective way.
Schedule Your Proofreading
When proofreading, it’s best to schedule it at a certain time when your brain is most active or at its hour of peak productivity. If you think you’re the kind of person who is more productive during the day or at night, then start proofreading your document throughout those hours. Spot those errors and make those corrections while your brain is at its full potential.
Proofreading requires you to be focused. Do not proofread in front of a television or in a noisy place to ensure that you won’t be distracted. Document errors are so small that they could be overlooked when you are not focused enough. Also, take into consideration that your brain gets tired too. An exhausted brain makes it harder for you to focus. Therefore, make sure that you take some breaks in between. Relax your eyes and mind before you return to proofreading.
Read It Aloud
We are given five senses. Unfortunately, when proofreading, we can only rely on two of those five senses. Instead of just using our visual sense to proofread, try reading your work aloud. This will activate your auditory sense, thus providing another way for your brain to detect errors. Read your work aloud and slowly to identify the errors that you might have missed in comparison to just reading silently.
Do It Yourself
Nowadays, there are a lot of sites that will electronically proofread your work for you. While this is a great and fast way to perform the step, it is still better if you proofread the document yourself. Don’t rely too much on spelling and grammar checkers, as they are still bound to make a few mistakes. They could still mark a word as wrong. Simply because they couldn’t find it in their system. There are also instances where they don’t mark a word as an error, despite its incorrect use in context. These sites can be used supplementary for work, which is found to be okay. Yet you still must proofread the document yourself to avoid the errors these sites cannot detect.
Go Through Them One by One
Sometimes we make errors that we tend to repeat unconsciously. If you know that there is a type of error that you tend to commit often, attempt to observe for those errors first before going further. For example, you have noticed your tendency to misplace or forget inserting commas. Try to read your work while looking for errors involving commas. After doing so, you can scan and correct the next error you notice on your document. You can prevent overwhelming yourself and increase your chances of spotting all the errors when take it one error at a time.
Learn from Your Mistakes
When you spot a type of error that has been repeated multiple times, it’s time to watch out for those mistakes. Chances are you might have committed those errors in other parts of your writing. Take note of your past and present errors and learn from them in order to make sure you won’t repeat them in future writings.
Have Someone Read It
Having a second brain would be great, but we only have one. Ask for a second opinion. Let someone else read your work before submitting it. This way, that person could observe your work from a different point of view. Having someone else read your work for you can ensure that there won’t be any errors missed.
Academic writings can be tiresome and frustrating. You invest a lot of time and effort into just writing the content itself. Why ruin your efforts with accidental misspellings or missing punctuations? Proofreading isn’t just about spotting grammatical, typographical, and spelling errors. It’s also the time to check for awkward sentences or missing words. It ensures that you will be able to produce well-structured academic writing that is clear, correct, and consistent. To learn and easily spot errors in future writing, always remember to proofread your work before submitting the final output.