General Proofreading Checklist

General Proofreading Checklist
Proofreading Checklist
1.) Run Spellcheck –
a. Don’t just “ok” or “ignore” everything; take a few seconds to
make sure that Spellcheck’s corrections are the ones that fit
your meanings. Remember: Spellcheck will give you a
correctly-spelled word, but it may not give the right, correctlyspelled word.
b. Watch particularly for homonyms (words that sound the same
but have different meanings and spellings), for example: there,
their, and they’re and to, two, and too.
c. Be wary of Spellcheck’s grammar suggestions; sometimes these
are wrong and accepting them can change the meaning of your
sentences. Treat these as warnings to reread the sentence and
check its grammar. If you don’t get why the Spellcheck is
flagging it, move on – for now.
2.) Reread –
a. Read your essay aloud, either to yourself or, even better, to
someone else. Often, your ear can catch things your eyes may
not, such as:
i. Missing punctuation – Commas and periods indicate
pauses in speech. Where you pause when you read a
sentence aloud usually indicates the need for a comma or
period.
ii. Incomplete sentences – All sentences need at least a
subject (a doer of an action) and a verb (the action), and
usually some kind of object (to what the action was done).
Sentences without these parts sound strange.
iii. Awkward wording – If you have trouble saying or
understanding the sentence, chances are your professor
will find it confusing as well.
9-22-14, Written by Kevin Kern
for Raritan Valley Community College’s Academic Support Center
You may want to print out a copy for you to mark up as
you go; this has the added benefit of viewing your work
without the glare of a computer screen.
b. As you read through, you should also check for more visually
obvious errors, like run-on sentences (if you see a sentence
continuing for four lines or more, chances are it’s a run-on,
though this rule doesn’t always apply), formatting mistakes
(correct margins, indents, spacing, and paragraphing), and
citations (all direct quotes need citations, as does any place you
used information from an outside source, i.e. paraphrasing).
c. You may want to consider rereading the paper “backwards,”
that is, start at the end and work your way to the beginning.
This allows you to take each sentence out of its context and
focus more on the grammar than the content.
3.) Re-check –
a. Before printing or sending your essay, run the Spellcheck one
more time for any overlooked or unresolved errors.
b. Scan the paper again for any trouble spots (areas you’ve
identified as weaknesses).
c. Pay special attention to citations; mistakes with these can
change simple grammar errors into charges of plagiarism.
Remember: if it’s not your idea, you need to cite it.
If you need help with a specific area of grammar or punctuation, please
feel free to request a tutor at the ASC. While we cannot proofread your
paper for you, we can help you identify and overcome specific problem
areas.
9-22-14, Written by Kevin Kern
for Raritan Valley Community College’s Academic Support Center
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