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Essay writing

How to proofread an essay

How to proofread an essay

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Tutor: Sam


How to proofread an essay

In a nutshell

Proofreading often comes at the end of the writing process, but it is still one of the most important stages. Proofreading simply means reading back over your work and checking for any errors you might have made. When proofreading, you might be looking for errors in grammar, punctuation or spelling and making sure that the text overall is cohesive. 

Proofreading techniques

There are different ways to approach your writing in order to make sure that any errors you have made become obvious to you as you read. One approach is to read your writing out loud, as this forces you to pay extra attention to each word as you read. Any missing words, spelling mistakes, or poorly structured sentences will be harder to read out loud or sound slightly odd, and any errors should therefore become easy to spot. 

Another approach is to read your writing a few times with a different type of error in mind each time you read: you might read it once to look for spelling errors, once for grammar errors and once for punctuation errors. 

What an error looks like

There are three main types of errors to keep an eye out for when proofreading:

Grammatical errors

These consist of sentences or words that use faulty language that makes your writing unclear and can confuse your reader.

Punctuation errors

These consist of missing, or incorrectly placed punctuation marks, such as full stops, commas, apostrophes and quotation marks.

Spelling errors

These consist of words that are spelled incorrectly.

How to improve your work

Once you have found and corrected any of the errors above, there are still opportunities to improve your work after you have proofread it. This might mean expanding the vocabulary that you have used in your writing if it feels repetitive or too basic, or it might mean adding a little more detail in an area of your writing that is still slightly unclear for the reader. 

The benefit of proofreading is that by taking the position of your readers, it is easier to spot not only the types of errors listed in this summary but also to get a sense of general areas to improve in your writing. 


Proofread the text below carefully, and try to spot any errors that may have been missed when the text was originally written. 

'Monday is the worst day of the week This is because it is the beginning of the schoole week and it feels like as though there is so much to do before you can enjoy a relaxing weekend.'


Firstly, there should be a full stop after the first sentence: 'Monday is the worst day of the week.' The sentence is clearly supposed to end here, and the next word, 'This', begins with a capital letter, which suggests that there is a missing full stop. 

Secondly, the word 'school' is spelled incorrectly. There should not be an 'e' at the end of the word. 

Finally, the phrase, 'it feels like as though' is grammatically wrong, as it is repetitive and the words 'like' and 'as though' mean the same thing. To correct this, one of the two would need to be removed. 

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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