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Why Should We Bother Proofreading?

Last updated: Fri, 02/12/2016 - 18:17


After finishing the first draft of an article or document, too often authors hurry to the conclusion that their job is finished. They often want to quickly submit it for publication. But there is an important process that remains before any manuscript should be submitted for publication—proofreading.

Proofreading is easily overlooked. While writing a first draft, sometimes authors simply write everything that comes to their minds and their ideas are often jumbled from one paragraph to another. By proofreading your own work, you will notice the coherence (or lack thereof) of your ideas, grammar mistakes, the faults at punctuation, and so forth; even the smallest mistakes will sometimes go unnoticed.

There are several steps in the proofreading process. First, you should begin with a general overview. This step includes a check on the content of the entire document and to ensure that you portray the overall ideas of your message. This is generally done so the manuscript reads well. During this initial step, you also check to see whether your ideas flow smoothly and are easy to follow.

The next step should delve much deeper. You want to try to read your article more carefully, looking for errors with grammar, spelling, word choice, punctuation, and so on. You should try to correct as many mistakes as you can with a critical lens.

Identifying our own mistakes is often much more difficult than identifying mistakes in others’ writing. Therefore, peer editing is an essential step in the proofreading process. You can swap your writing with friends, colleagues, and others in your professional network. Then, reciprocate by asking if you can provide suggestions and feedback on their writing. Often peers will be able to identify mistakes and gaps in your writing. This often includes receiving critical feedback on how to strengthen your arguments and clarifying points of confusion.

Hiring a professional editor is a final step that often sharpens a paper and readies it for final submission. Professional editors are trained and used to the routine proofreading steps outlined above, including looking for additional errors that you might have missed. If you are planning to submit your article for publication, they can also help you edit your article to comply with the required writing style. They can also give you recommendations on how to enhance your writing.

It is of foremost importance to proofread and edit all written documents, especially prior to publication. A noted professional editor recently noted, “Proofreading is not just the icing on the cake, it is an essential part of the writing process.”

3 Steps of Proofreading

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