Proofreading, as many students and teachers understand it at school, is the equivalent to editing paper. Essentially, when one is expected to “proofread” they are expected to find any and all errors within that paper. These errors are including, but are not limited to spelling errors, grammar errors, and making sure it flows. There are a few tips about how to proofread an essay.
Proofreading Tip #1
To utilize the spell checker on your word processor. The first thing you should do after typing anything is to make sure there are not any colored squiggles under anything that you have written. While some spell checkers automatically fix these things for you, they might not have an alternative spelling for something that you have written. If that is the case, go to whatever word is squiggled and try to remember what it is that you attempted to type. If you recall but do not know how to spell it, you either look it up in a dictionary or cut-and-paste that word into your web browser and see if any alternative spellings come up.
Proofreading Tip #2.
Print your essay put and examined it in person. Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need for errors to start popping out left and right. If you hold your paper in your hand and read it, you could possibly find more things that you could not see on the computer. Computers can be very distracting whether that be to the lights, the Internet, of other programs. So, printing your paper out can be really helpful. Remember that at this point you are only looking for mechanical areas such as spelling, comma usage and verb tenses.
Proofreading Tip #3.
Ask yourself the following questions as you reread your paper. Do I have a clear thesis?; did I address my prompts?; do my body paragraphs stick to their topic sentences?; does my conclusion restate my thesis and avoid including any new information?. Essentially, make sure you stayed on topic. If at any time you unsure of your content, highlight it and address at a later time. Once time has passed, you might be able to clarify to yourself if you were on track or not. If you are absolutely stuck on whether your points are valid or not, get a second opinion, whether that be from a peer, your instructor, or a tutor.