Writing is a learned skill and an essential part of communication.1 Part of the writing process is ensuring your words are free from grammar, spelling, and style errors. Whether you’re writing a research paper, cover letter, discussion board post, or an email to your instructor, you can benefit from proofreading your work!
Proofreading may seem daunting at times, but several options are available to help make the process smoother.
Discover the Purpose of Proofreading
Proofreading is an important part of the writing process—most first drafts are not flawless and need improvements.2 However, before you begin, step away from your work to clear your head. Seeing errors in something you’ve just written may be difficult. Instead, find something else to do to clear your mind. Then, when you come back to your work, you might discover errors you overlooked.2
Read Your Work Out Loud
When you read to yourself, you may miss seeing certain errors, typos, or run-on sentences in the text. But reading your work out loud can help you spot errors and hear what your words sound like together. If something sounds awkward or is wrong, you can change or reword it.
Ask Someone to Check Your Writing
Even if you think your editing skills are adequate, ask a friend, classmate, or family member to read your work. Since your brain might automatically fill in the blanks of what you meant to say without saying it, overlooking errors is possible.2 So have someone else review your work to assess whether or not you have conveyed your ideas. If you’re working on an online class assignment, ask a classmate to exchange papers with you. Editing someone else’s work may also help you find errors you’ve overlooked in your own writing.2
Use Online Resources to Aid with Proofreading
If you want to check your content but lack the time to have another person review it, another option to aid in proofreading your work is using an online resource. There are several free tools that can help proofread your content, offer feedback, and potentially catch errors. However, make sure you review any feedback you receive. Consider the following online tools to help with proofreading before you turn in or publish your work:
- Grammarly – Grammarly is an online platform that finds grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and style errors using algorithms. You can paste your text into Grammarly’s Editor or install the Chrome, Safari, or Firefox browser extensions to begin the proofreading process. The Editor flags possible concerns and offers corrections, suggestions, and explanations about the text’s grammar, spelling, style, and punctuation. Grammarly also provides a reading and speaking time and a performance grade.3
- ProWritingAid – If you’re interested in checking the grammar, style, and clarity of your writing, then another option you might use is ProWritingAid. The free online editing tool checks up to 500 words of a pasted or uploaded document and analyzes the text for overused words, sentence structure, punctuation, repetition, readability, and more.4
- GrammarCheck – This online grammar and spell checker allows you to cut-and-paste content or you can write and edit your work within the tool. Once you paste the words you want in the text field, click the “free check” button located under the text box. Suggested spelling, grammar, and style changes will appear in “colorful underlined prompts” for your consideration.5
- Hemingway Editor – The Hemingway app finds long, complicated sentences, common errors, and passive voice. Although Hemingway is not a spellchecker, it reviews the style of your writing. To begin, click on the “write” button at the top of the webpage. You can then paste your text on the page and click the “edit” button to view the results. The editor will highlight areas in yellow and red within your text, suggest words for you to remove or split into another sentence, and it will present you with a readability score.6
Proofreading your writing is an important part of the writing process. But even when you use an online proofreading tool, you can’t guarantee perfection in the results generated. Therefore, also check your own work to help make sure your text is free from errors. When time permits, enlist the help of a classmate, peer, or family member.
Remember, proofreading is a process just like writing. When you analyze your writing, look at one sentence at a time. Also, give yourself enough time to check your work so you aren’t rushing.
If you need additional help, connect with the Writing Center in the Smarthinking tutoring resource in the Virtual Campus or contact your student advisors.
1. “List of Communication Skills for Resumes.” the balance careers. Retrieved from: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/communication-skills-list-2063737 (Visited 02/03/2019).
2. “The Benefits of Having Others Edit Your Work. Scribendi. Retrieved from: https://www.scribendi.com/advice/benefits_of_having_others_edit_your_work.en.html (Visited 02/03/2019).
3. “FAQ.” Grammarly. Retrieved from: https://www.grammarly.com/faq#toc0 (Visited 02/03/2019).
4. “Your Personal Writing Coach: A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.” ProWritingAid. Retrieved from: https://prowritingaid.com/ (Visited 02/03/2019).
5. “How it Works. GrammarCheck. Retrieved from: https://www.grammarcheck.net/editor/ (Visited 02/03/2019).
6. “What's the Hemingway Editor All About?” HemingwayEditor. Retrieved from: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/help.html (Visited 02/03/2019).
The above recommendations do not imply endorsement of any of the included products, services, or providers, nor should students solely rely on them for accuracy. American InterContinental University cannot guarantee employment or salary. For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures.