Proofreading makes your copy flawless; it enables you modify your content to perfection. Every student wants to write an error-free assignment. Unfortunately, no one is perfect. We all forget to put articles like ‘the’ or put an ‘ed’ at the end of a verb, no matter how carefully we do the writing. But the examiner never forgets to cut marks for these silly mistakes. So you need to learn the techniques for effective assignment proofreading.
Five effective ways to proofread assignments
Here are five top methods to effectively proofread your assignments:
1. Proofread after 24 hours:
It is important that you leave your assignment for at least 24 hours before you start with proofreading. Let your work sit for a while and in the meantime you can clear your mind. Then look at the assignment writing with fresh eyes and perspective. This way, you can see the actual words you wrote than seeing the words you think you wrote.
2. Proofread the printed version:
Always get a printed copy of your work. You will miss out on errors if you try to proofread on the computer monitor.
3. Read your story backward:
Yes, you need to read out your work backwards. Start with the last sentence and make your way to the beginning in the reverse order. This is better than reading right from the beginning as your conscious mind already has an idea of the content. So eventually it will skip the errors.
4. Read out loud:
Reading aloud will force you to read each word individually. Hence, you will definitely come across any typing error or wrong spelling.
5. Mark mistakes clearly:
You can easily use highlighter or color pen to mark the mistakes and correct all the errors at the time of final revision.
Grammar, spelling and punctuation
These are three most important pillars of proofreading. Here are some valuable tips on how to correct your spelling, grammar and punctuation,
1. Grammar —
Don’t rely entirely on the grammar check software as it works under certain limitation. Your content should be revised keeping the following points in minds:
- Is it a complete sentence? Is there any missing word in your sentence, like ‘the’?
- Have you misplaced a noun like mouse, shop and Barry or a verb like run, was, kicked etc.?
- Are the sentences alive? Sentence can either be active or passive. In active voice, the subject performs the action, and in a passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb. For e.g., The girl saw a mouse (active); A mouse is seen by the girl (passive).
- Have you put tenses correctly? Be consistent with a tense. If you change the tense in a sentence of the passage, it will confuse your reader.
- Have you checked the agreement of subjects and verbs? A singular subject should be accompanied by singular verb.
2. Spelling —
Don’t rely on spell check because spell check won’t pickup wrong spellings that are valid words. For example, if you write ‘form’ instead of ‘from’, spell check won’t correct it. The best way is to give your writing to a friend for spell check.
3. Punctuation —
Following are the three things to be kept in mind:
- Use commas to separate words or phrases which are additional to the main clause of the sentence. Example - Their grandfather, who was kind and generous, lived with them.
- Use commas to prevent misunderstanding. Example - While he was cooking, the baby slept outside in the sun.
- Use semicolons to link two complete sentences.
These are some best possible ways to avoid silly mistakes in your content. Proofreading is no rocket science; it just needs your attentions and patience. That’s it.
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