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Introduction to Proofreading

What is proofreading?

Proofreading involves checking the content and appearance of your written work: looking for errors in typing, spelling and grammar, and ensuring that it is presented in a style that meets the requirements of a module or course. Proofreading is a skill that requires time, but the more you practice, the quicker and easier it will become to spot any corrections that need to be made.

Why is proofreading important?

Proofreading is an essential final stage of the essay writing process which should not be overlooked as a poorly presented piece of work can lose marks. After the effort of finding information and writing the essay, don’t lose marks by submitting a work spoiled by spelling and grammatical errors, or that does not adhere to your module’s requirements. A well-presented essay indicates to your tutor that you care about your work.

Areas to check:

Proofreading can be time-consuming and it is easy to underestimate the time required. It is a good idea to build in time for proofreading into your assignment plan. It is especially important that you follow any module requirements regarding referencing, line spacing, paragraph indentation, and margins, and that these are observed consistently and continuously.




Don’t rely on the spellchecker in Word – this won’t pick up “typos” as from/form or been/bean.

Use a dictionary to check spellings – don’t guess at a spelling.


Does the subject match the verb?

Are tenses used consistently within sentences?


Have capitals been used where necessary? – e.g. for personal names, organisations, the start of a sentence.

Have some words been used frequently in a paragraph or an essay? – if so, consult a thesaurus for alternative words to use.

Is the language suitable for an academic essay? – no text speak!


Correct style:

Are you using the proper method? Check your School guidelines for which method you should use.


Is the referencing consistent?


Have quotations been fully referenced? i.e. have you included quotation marks and page numbers if appropriate?


Have you included all the items you have cited in your text?

Are the references complete?


Line spacing:

Does the assignment require particular line spacing?


Are there any requirements regarding margins?

Font size/type:

Do you need to use a particular font size or type?

Typing errors:

Have all corrections been made in the final version of the essay?

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