Some ways to see errors more easily:

  • focus on only one kind of error at a time
  • read out loud
  • circle every punctuation mark
  • read paper from the bottom up for a new perspective

Don’t rely entirely on automatic spell/grammar/punctuation checkers – they don’t pick up everything, e.g. which versus witch

By this stage, hopefully, you’ve finished writing or almost finished writing your text.  You should now focus on final revisions and proofreading.  Why is this so important?  Well, you don’t want careless errors to distract your reader from what you have to say; make a good impression.

What is the difference between editing and proofreading?

Editing tends to be about checking the content, structure, coherence and cohesion, style and referencing.  Proofreading is the final check and is limited to spelling, grammar and punctuation.  Because the two focus on different aspects, it is recommended that you do the two separately.  Either divide it up between group members, if you are writing in a group, and/or ask someone else to do the proofreading.


When editing:

  • check requirements of task (content, structure, language, pages/word count, layout, font size, etc.)
  • check the criteria if there are any
  • think about your text from your reader’s perspective, i.e. you know what you’re talking about, will it be clear to them?
  • check through all the areas we’ve highlighted in this guide:
    • purpose? beginning, middle, end? end goes back to beginning? source support? claims backed up clearly? visual use? paragraphing (topic sentence, supporting and example sentences, transitions, cohesion)? descriptive headings?  correct reference system?  right level of formality used (phrases, sentence types, punctuation types)?

When proofreading:

  • check for all spelling, grammar, punctuation errors, but especially common problem areas you know that you have, particularly if you are not a native speaker