Category Archives: Grammar

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.



Homophones are words which have the same pronunciation but different meaning and usually, different spelling. For example, their/there; no/know. For this reason it is very easy to confuse them and use the wrong one. In such cases, computer spell checkers won’t help you much at all. This is where you really need someone else to read what you have written (CLICK HERE for details).

Poets deliberately choose words with this quality for special effect. See if you can follow the meaning of these poems.


I have a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished inn it’s weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o’er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore a veiling checkers
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if we’re lacks oar have a laps,
We wood bee maid too wine.

Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know faults with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.

Now spelling does knot phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped words fare as hear.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should bee proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting want too pleas.

Jerry Zar, 29 June 1992

In the above poem, by the author’s count, 123 of the 225 words are incorrect (although all words are correctly spelled).

Here’s another poem which focuses on two words which are homophones of each other.

Whether the weather be fine²

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

More Homophones

If you want to find out more about homophones, look at the following website which boasts having a complete list of homophones!


² Author unknown.

Have your document edited for homophones! Click here.

Transition Words and Phrases, and Coordinating Conjunctions

Are you tired of using the same linking words in your essays and assignments?

I recently came across this list of  Transition words and phrases. It will surely give you the variety you are looking for. Here are the main categories of words and phrases, with a selection of examples:

  • Agreement / Addition / Similarity e.g. not only … but also, as a matter of fact, in like manner, in addition
  • Opposition / Limitation / Contradiction e.g. on the other hand, on the contrary, at the same time, in spite of
  • Cause / Condition / Purpose e.g. with this intention, with this in mind, in the hope that, to the end that
  • Examples / Support / Emphasis e.g. certainly, surely, markedly, especially, specifically
  • Effect / Consequence / Result e.g. for this reason, thus, then, hence, consequently
  • Conclusion / Summary / Restatement e.g. in a word, for the most part, in fact, in summary, in conclusion, in brief, to summarise
  • Time / Chronology / Sequence e.g. in the meantime, all of a sudden, immediately, finally, formerly, henceforth
  • Space / Location / Place e.g. adjacent to, opposite to, here, over, beyond, wherever, alongside, among, beneath

Download it out, print it out and keep it in front of you as you write!

Transition words and phrases


Punctuation Matters


In today’s post, and subsequent ones, I will be referring to aspects of writing which really do matter. Today, it’s Punctuation (that) Matters!


How would you punctuate the following sentence?

A woman without her man is nothing

Punctuation marks can be added in two ways:

A woman, without her man, is nothing.


A woman: without her, man is nothing.

They each have quite a different meaning!

Why do we punctuate?

One answer to this question is that punctuation marks are added to remove ambiguity. Whether in legal documents or university assignments wrong punctuation can cost money or marks.

Another approach suggests that as few punctuation marks as possible should be used. According to this approach adding punctuation marks adds to ambiguity.

Whatever approach you use it is important that the meaning is clear. Punctuation should also make the text easy to read.

Where do we put punctuation marks?

  • At the end of sentences.

There are four punctuation marks which are used at the end of sentences:

    • the full stop (period)

For example:

It was lovely to see you the other day.

    • the thrice repeated full stop (…) indicating ellipsis has occurred

For example:

Near the end of his new product presentations, Steve Jobs of Apple Mac fame used to say “And one more thing…”.

    • the question mark (?)

For example:

What is the maximum load on the beam?

    • the exclamation mark (!)

For example:

Wow! That’s amazing!

  • Within sentences.

Most other punctuation marks are used within sentences. For example, commas, colons, semicolons, apostrophes, and brackets.

In future posts I will go into more detail about the use of punctuation marks.

Make sure the meaning of your document is clear. Why not get your document edited: (CLICK HERE for details). Be sure you are using correct punctuation.

Capital Letters Matter

Capital Letters

Today’s post focuses on Capital Letters. In written English there are several rules controlling the use of capital letters. These include the following:

  • the first letter of a sentence is always capitalised

For example: Locals say that the fort was built by Portuguese soldiers.

  • names of people, countries, nationalities, places, organisations, days, months, titles of address always start with capital letters

For example:

In Dhofar, the southernmost region of the Sultanate of Oman, monsoon rains generally fall from late June until the end of August.

In 1963 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I have a dream speech”.

  • the personal pronoun, I, is always capitalised

For example: Yung Yung and I discussed the timing of the OCF meeting.

  • titles of books, songs, movies have the content words capitalised

For example: Khan is King

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

A Tale of Two Cities

How Great Thou Art

  • abbreviations

For example: OECD, UNTSO, NGO

If you have a document you need proofread use our no-obligation assessment service (CLICK HERE for details), including checking for capitals!.

Editing, Proofreading Business Documents, Manuals

Editing, proofreading, rewriting, polishing of translated or other documents, webpages, web documents, websites, agreements, patents, technical manuals, books into idiomatic English.

Experienced, highly qualified, native English-speaking professional.

Based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Confidential service.

How to edit your own paper or essay

Want to edit your own essay?

Not sure where to begin?

Here is an excellent article to point you in the right direction:

If you need further help, do get in touch with me: Professional Document Editing