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Steps to Effective Proofing

Page history last edited by Jon Brammer 12 years, 6 months ago

After you have gone through content revision and paragraph level editing in your written work, you should start the process of proofing your writing for low-level errors.  The most important thing to keep in mind about proofing documents is that it is a multi-step process.  This is the order that works well in most cases:


  1. Run the paper through a good spell check and grammar check- like MS Word- and make the corrections you need to make
  2. Print out a copy of your paper and read it OUT LOUD.  Listen to the way sentences sound to you and mark any that seem awkward.  Listen for words that seem out of place or not quite right in their meaning.
  3. Make corrections as needed.
  4. Print out another clean copy and read for a problem area.  For example, if you have a tough time with commas, just look for those.  If it's fragments, concentrate on that.  Look for ONLY ONE pattern or problem at a time.  
  5. Repeat this step as many times as you need to and make corrections as needed.
  6. Print out a fresh copy and read it out loud again; make any additions or corrections
  7. After you have exhausted this process, get another set of eyes to look it over: a tutor, your instructor, a classmate, etc….


There is no magic bullet for proofing; it takes time and practice to learn how to do it efficiently.  However, if you are conscientious about following this outline, you should have a pretty clean paper.


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