The proofread is your final check before you submit your work. It is an opportunity to verify that your work is accurate, clear and follows the appropriate styles and conventions.
While revising and editing, you may have cut content out or moved content around. Proofreading is a good chance to check again that your writing still makes sense.
It is also the point at which you check details such as formatting and referencing, according to your school’s referencing requirements.
What am I looking for?
During proofreading you should be checking:
- Language: are there any spelling, grammar, punctuation, or typing errors?
- Referencing: do all citations and references follow your school’s referencing requirements? Are all source names and titles accurate and their references punctuated correctly?
- Formatting: layout, tables, figures, font size, page numbers, headers.
Here are a few tips for effective proofreading:
- use the spelling and grammar checker that is part of Microsoft Word
- check the meaning of words is correct by looking in dictionaries online
- read your work out loud, to slow your reading down and help you spot errors such as missing words or missing punctuation. You can use text-to-speech software, such as the Immersive Reader on Word Online, to help you with this process
- focus on one aspect at a time: check language, appearance and referencing in separate readings
- check your module handbook or assessment guidelines to find out the requirements for formatting your work correctly
- check the style guide for your referencing style to ensure you are formatting your references correctly
- maintain a list of your most common grammar, spelling, punctuation, or vocabulary errors and use it as a checklist for proofreading.
Spelling and grammar: useful resources
There are several resources available to help you improve your spelling and grammar.
Books about grammar are available in the Skills Collection on Level 1 of the Laidlaw Library.
There are useful grammar and vocabulary resources from the Language Zone in Minerva.
In addition, the Academic Phrasebank from the University of Manchester gives examples of phrases you can use in various areas of your academic writing.