Editing and Proofreading Strategies

A Proofreading Checklist

Proofread a paper several times, never just after you finish typing or writing. Here's a short list of steps to go through to be sure you've proofread your final draft thoroughly.

  1. Proofread one sentence at a time, again from the end of the paper to the beginning. Look especially for sentence punctuation and any errors you know you often make. By looking at each sentence--because it will be out of context--you'll see more of the punctuation errors and missing words than you catch by reading from the beginning to the end of the paper.
  2. Proofread once more, looking for problems you know of in your writing. Always make one special reading just for your common flaws and errors.
  3. Read the paper aloud. Sometimes, because you have to read more slowly to read aloud, you'll "hear" problems that you otherwise miss as you read the paper silently. Pay special attention to the sound of words (check for endings) and of sentences (check for choppy sentences that should be combined and for sentence fragments).
  4. Proofread slowly, reading each word from right to left and from bottom to top on the page; in other words, read backwards so that you catch spelling or typing errors. Or read the entire paper from the end to the beginning. By looking at each word--because it will be out of context--you'll see more of the spelling errors than you catch with your current proofreading process.
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Introduction