How to proofread your thesis or other document

The final stage of the writing process before submitting an assignment or thesis is often neglected – proofreading! And, if it’s done well, it can significantly lift your grades (see Testimonials for examples of this).

Set aside time to check your assignment or thesis. As a guideline, allow 5 to 10 minutes per page (about 250 words per page if double spaced lines).

Try to complete your assignment or thesis well ahead of the due date. This will give you a chance to ‘recover’ from the writing process, and so be able to look at the document more objectively.

Check for the following (these are just some of the features to include when proofreading!):

• grammar – noun verb agreement, correct and consistent verb tense
• spelling – use the software spellchecker, but be careful of words often confused, and homophones (see Homophones).
• punctuation – apostrophes, dashes, commas, colons, semicolons, capitals
• vocabulary – consider your choice of words and see whether they are technical words, subject-specific language, slang, or idioms, and change them if necessary; also check abbreviations (Have you defined them when you first used them?).
• readability – when you read it through, do you have to read the same sentence through more than once to get its meaning? If so, then shorten, or change it.
• cohesion – how well do sentences and paragraphs link with those before and after? Make use of appropriate linking words, for example, see Linking Words, to ensure it flows smoothly.
• references – make sure that authors’ names are spelled correctly, within the body of the assignment or thesis, and in the list of references at the end.

Lastly check that your assignment or thesis meets the requirements of your university. This means checking font style and size, line spacing, and the type of referencing (Vancouver, APA 6th, …).

If you still need help after doing all this, then do get in touch – Enquiry – and I will do my best for you.

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