Every piece of writing begins as a rough draft. Let’s face it. Authors, content writers, and, yes, students, all produce pieces of writing that are never in the final stages when first written. They have to be revised and proofread – not the most exciting tasks, but necessary. And especially for students, grades hang in the balance.
Know the Difference
There is a huge difference between revising and proofreading.
So, what does revising mean in the paper writing process? It looks at the larger picture. As reading through what you have written, you are looking for any major errors. Maybe your wording just wasn’t right to make the point. Maybe you need to switch some paragraphs or sections around so that the points are made in abetter order. Maybe your introduction isn’t strong enough, or your thesis statement is unclear. Changing these things is what revising is all about.
Proofreading happens after you have revised your rough draft. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” You need to know what is proofreading and why it’s important. Proofreading involves going through the piece sentence by sentence, making sure that all sentences are actually complete, that punctuation is correct, and that words are used and spelled correctly.
Now that you understand the difference of revising vs. proofreading, you should also understand one thing. While you may think that revision is far more important, you cannot ignore proofreading. Why? Because instructors are known to be very picky people. And when they read a piece of writing that is filled with even minor errors in punctuation, spelling, and the like, they tend to become irritated.
And irritated instructors are not inclined to give good grades. They want to see evidence of proofreading and revisions and, when they don’t, you can bank on a bad grade.
So, How are Your Proofreading Skills?
Authors have editors for a reason. No matter how skilled they are, they will not catch a lot of errors that an “outsider” will because they are too connected to their work.
The same goes for you. You have labored over that essay or paper and you almost know it by heart. So, you will simply skip over some mistakes.
You need another set of eyes to have a look. And you do have some options here:
- You can use grammar and spell check software built into your word processing program. These are fine up to a point. But they will not find word usage errors, as long as those words are spelled correctly. Think “to, too, two” or “there, their, they’re,” etc.
- Sometimes, a peer can read your essay. He will probably let you know if something doesn’t make sense – that will call for revision. And if he is really good at grammar, he will find those proofreading errors too.
- You can also use the writing lab on campus. There, you’ll find a grad student who is paid to help students write, revise, proofread their essays and papers. This can be a great source, but in many instances, you will have to either make an appointment or go and “wait in line” for a tutor to be available.
- Your third option is to use an online writing service that has professional editing and proofreading experts. You can shoot that essay over to them and have it back within a couple of hours. Done and done and at a pretty reasonable cost.
We can help you find the perfect writing service for your proofreading needs, and you can take that pesky task off your plate.
Posted by Chris M.