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Proofreading, Proofreading, Proofreading

October 23, 2013

The Forgotten Step

by: Kayla Webb

How many times have you finished a paper that you’ve been working on for days, saved the document, and either printed or submitted it right then? You are so overcome with relief that you have completed the assignment that you often overlook one of the most important parts of writing a paper: proofreading.

The moment you type the last word of a paper is such a relief, especially if you have been struggling with it for some time. Maybe it was all you could do to reach the page length requirement or maybe you feel that you’ve just been staring at this paper for so long that you can’t bear the thought of reading anything else on the topic. These are completely understandable emotions; however, you will certainly benefit from proofreading your paper.

First, take some time away from your paper. Don’t go back immediately after completing  it and attempt to proofread. At this point, you are probably so numb to the material that you will most likely skip over important errors. Put your paper down for a while and work on something else. This will give your mind a break and you will pick up errors more easily when you return to your paper later.


After giving yourself some time away from your paper, read back through it. Make sure you give yourself time to do this slowly. If you read through it to quickly, you will skip over simple errors that could have easily been caught. You may choose to read through your paper silently or out loud. At the University Writing Center, we always read through papers out loud because it helps to hear small mistakes that you may be inclined to skip over if you are reading silently. I often find myself reading my paper out loud as I write it as well, and this has proven to be quite helpful.

If you are comfortable, get another person involved in helping you proofread. Of course you can always come to the University Writing Center, but you can also ask your friends, family members, or roommates to read over your paper as well. Having an extra set of eyes proofread will help tremendously because these people can offer an objective opinion. They also may not know as much about the particular subject as you do, so this helps to make sure that your paper translates to your audience well.

It can be so tempting to submit a paper immediately upon finishing it and never look back. However, you miss out on valuable feedback and revision. Don’t forget how important proofreading can be. It could boost your grade significantly!

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