You’ve done the classwork, you’ve done your research, and now you’ve written the first draft of your paper. What next? Does the editing process feel like too much work? Do you not know where to start? Here are some solutions to the daunting problem of editing and proofreading your work!
1. Editing is just as important as writing the paper itself. Manage your time wisely so you have time for editing!
2. Make sure you know what resources are available to you, like papers from class about the paper, links from your professor, dictionaries, thesauruses, etc.
3. When editing, be sure to keep in mind things that you need to work on. If you know you aren’t a strong speller, then keep an eye out for spelling errors when you’re editing! Knowing what you don’t do well can help you edit your paper quicker, by looking for those weak spots.
4. Using a paper copy of your work may make it easier to catch errors.
5. Read your paper out loud! Sometimes it is easier to catch mistakes or awkward phrasing when you hear the words you wrote.
6. Try reading your paper backwards, sentence by sentence, to look for sentence fragments. You’re less likely to focus on the ideas in your paper that way!
7. Look your paper over for punctuation errors.
8. Be sure to go back and look over each citation, make sure the spelling is correct, and make sure that they match your Works Cited page.
9. Double check your quotations, it’s easy to misspell words while you’re copying!
10. Have a friend read your paper and get their suggestions. A fresh set of eyes will sometimes catch things we miss!
11. Try not to rely on spell-check or grammar-check, as they aren’t infallible. Your own proofreading and editing strategies are always best!
12. Some papers, especially long ones, are exhausting. Take some time away from your paper and rest, then come back to it with fresh eyes to look it over for proofreading. You may even find things to change or make better after the fact!
Information used from: Editing & Proofreading Strategies.