10.4 COMPOSITION: Be a Better Proofreader

Proofreading is an essential step in the writing process. Obvious typos can be distracting, and small errors like misplaced commas can even lead to million-dollar lawsuits! (It’s true!) So here are five steps to proofread your writing:

1. Give it a rest. Finish your draft early enough that you can set it aside for a few days. Then you can proofread with fresh eyes.

2. Use your spellchecker, but trust a dictionary. A spellchecker is essential to catch typos. However, a spellchecker can tell you only if a word is a word, not if it’s the right word. Use a dictionary for that.

3. Print it out. It’s easier to spot mistakes when you see your work in a different format — or even on a different color paper!

4. Read your text aloud. Sometimes it’s easier to hear a problem than see it.

5. Create your own proofreading checklist — but look for one type of problem at a time. Remember the self-analysis we did in week 1? What were the most common errors? Keep a list of the types of mistakes that you commonly make and then be sure to check for those carefully. However, don’t try to look for everything at the same time.

Watch this video to learn more about proofreading your paper:



Now practice with this exercise; it is not graded, and you may repeat it as many times as you wish:


Video from: Course Hero. “How to Proofread Your Paper.” YouTube, 24 Jan. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN772mS8Ggg. Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.


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