Editing and Proofreading

When you have a proper topic, analyzed it, got a list of ideas, performed literature research, formulated the main statement, composed detailed outline and wrote one or several drafts, you can approach the final stage of editing and proofreading.

When you have finally finished your essay, there are three important things to do to make it really impressive: you have to revise, edit and proofread your paper. Let’s try to consider why it is necessary to do it, when and what strategies you should use:

  1. Revision is aimed at checking if all the concepts are clear and complete and if you have included in your essay what you really wanted. Ideally, it must be done after you have finished your first draft, but only when you have had some rest. It will give you a possibility to have a look at your writing from a different angle. However, it is not always possible if you are limited in time. In order to revise successfully, read your essay from the very beginning to the end as a single whole. Then, consider it carefully and identify its parts (introduction, thesis, main ideas, examples, explanations, personal experience and conclusion).
  2. The next step is editing, which is mainly aimed at achieving correct grammar. After you have revised your essay and have re-written the draft if necessary, read your essay sentence be sentence very carefully and consider each one in details. A good strategy is to prepare two problem lists in advance: the first one will contain the words you often misspell; the second one will have the grammar and usage mistakes that you tend to make. Check your sentences first for these errors. In order to help you at this stage, we’ve developed Common mistakes section, in which you can see what mistakes you should beware of in particular and how to avoid them.
  3. Finally, proofread and identify any typos, spelling, punctuation and formatting errors. This final stage must precede the actual essay submission. In order to proofread effectively, take your time and read your paper word-by-word and line-by-line. This is more convenient to do with a printed copy, as you are more likely to spot the errors in such way, than on the computer screen. If possible, read your essay to somebody aloud as well, as another person can also spot mistakes while listening. For everything that makes you feel doubtful, use a good dictionary. If it doesn’t help, substitute the problematic expressions with something you are absolutely sure about. In order to avoid formatting mistakes, consult our Formatting styles section.

Follow this simple procedure for the final stage of the essay writing and enjoy your academic achievements.

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