What is proofreading

And why do I need it?

Let's start with what it is not! It’s not the quick read through of your essay before you submit it.

When I am proofreading your work I will check for any typos, any spelling or grammar problems and check for easily confused words (effect/affect or stationary/stationery). I will also check for consistency in both the text and the formatting. Is the spelling the same all the way through? Are all the paragraphs and headings formatted in the same way? If you have any references, I will make sure that they are correct. If there is anything that is not clear to the reader, I will highlight it to you and suggest ways to make it clearer.

Depending on the type of text, there are other things I will check.

  • Do captions match the pictures?

  • Are character names spelt the same all the way through?

  • Are the page numbers and chapter titles in the correct order?

  • Does the content page match the rest of the document?

As you can see, it is much more than a read through.

Is it actually important when we have spell and grammar checks?

Spell checks are great. But - there’s always a but, isn’t there! – they create as many problems as they solve. They can tell whether a word is spelt right, but it won’t tell you if you get the right word. They can’t pick up on all typos. Form instead of from is one I see a lot.


They also can’t do all the other things I will do when proofreading such as checking consistency, formatting and references.

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