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Studying Through English - Proofreading

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Proofreading

At the moment there is no service within Trinity College Dublin that offers any proofreading support. However, there are several ways that you can go about ensuring that your assignment is well written.

Student Learning Development can help you with the essay writing process, how to structure your assignment, write in an academic style and develop your critical thinking and writing skills.

You can also edit and proofread your own work using the tips below.

University of Reading, United Kingdom give their 10 tips on how to proofread your own work. (http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/studyadvice/StudyResources/Writing/sta-proof.aspx)

  1. Print it off - it's much more difficult to read onscreen and there's always the temptation to start doing major rewrites.
  2. Leave it a day - if you can, leave some time between finishing your full draft and proof reading. It's easier to read critically when it's not so fresh in your mind.
  3. Read aloud - small errors of expression and punctuation are more likely to become obvious if you read aloud.
  4. Punctuate your reading - put pauses in for punctuation when you read, timed differently for different punctuation marks - so take a breath for commas, come to a halt for full stops. This is a good way to see if your sentences are too long or too short.
  5. Take it slowly - if you have time to do a really thorough proofing, first read each sentence in a paragraph one at a time to make sure each makes sense. Then read the whole paragraph. Finally, when you've read all the paragraphs, read the whole essay through.
  6. Take care with cut and paste - if you decide to move things about, don't forget to check the whole sentence again afterwards to make sure all the tenses, genders and plurals agree. Using the grammar check tool in Microsoft Word can help to prevent any errors.
  7. Learn punctuation rules - make sure you know how to use commas, apostrophes, colons and semi-colons.
  8. Check your referencing - always check your course handbook for preferred conventions - if you have to reference something that's not covered there, be consistent.
  9. Get another view - ask a friend to read through your work and tell you if it makes sense (NOT correct it for you). Offer to do the same for them. Especially good if you can't leave time between writing and proofing - another pair of eyes will be fresher.
  10. Use your feedback - always read and learn from your academic feedback. Use it to make a list of the things you often get wrong. Look out for these especially. They should start to disappear as you get used to doing them right.

University of Oxford have put together this guide on editing and proofreading your own work: guide-to-editing-and-proofreading.pdf .

Make sure to also check the OWL (Online Writing Lab) of Purdue University for their strategies and suggestions on proofreading - https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/1/.

While SLD doesn't offer support with proofreading, you can always make an appointment to discuss with one of the Learning Advisors how you can improve your academic writing skills.


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Last updated 16 December 2015 by Student Learning Development (Email) .