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MHS Library | Academic writing

The Library offers a proof reading service via Teams "Ask the Library"

What is proof reading?

It is not editing a document; do not expect the teacher librarians to read a whole essay and make corrections.

What we can do is read your paragraph, part of an essay or written report, your  prose or poetry creative writing ... and highlight  text and offer feedback.

You can select to have your text highlighted  for;

  • Argument
  • Grammar
  • Tense
  • Wordiness
  • your choice

Proof-reading tips

  1. Work from a printout, not the computer screen. (But see below for computer functions that can help you find some kinds of mistakes.)
  2. Read out loud. This is especially helpful for spotting run-on sentences, but you’ll also hear other problems that you may not see when reading silently.
  3. Use a blank sheet of paper to cover up the lines below the one you’re reading. This technique keeps you from skipping ahead of possible mistakes.
  4. Use the search function of the computer to find mistakes you’re likely to make. Search for “it,” for instance, if you confuse “its” and “it’s;” for “-ing” if dangling modifiers are a problem; for opening parentheses or quote marks if you tend to leave out the closing ones.
  5. If you tend to make many mistakes, check separately for each kind of error, moving from the most to the least important, and following whatever technique works best for you to identify that kind of mistake.
    For instance, read through once (backwards, sentence by sentence) to check for fragments; read through again (forward) to be sure subjects and verbs agree, and again (perhaps using a computer search for “this,” “it,” and “they”) to trace pronouns to antecedents.
  6. End with a spelling check, using a computer spelling checker or reading backwards word by word.
    But remember that a spelling checker won’t catch mistakes with homonyms (e.g., “they’re,” “their,” “there”) or certain typos (like “he” for “the”).

(ref: Proofreading. (2020). Proofreading. The Writing Center. https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/grammarpunct/proofreading/ (Links to an external site.))