Proofread Like A Pro: 5 Pitfalls To Watch For When You Write

All right! Your big day has come, and you are writing that important paper that will land you your dream job. You are all smiles, and you are excited about this opportunity to write, BUT...you don’t have time for anyone to proof it. You’re on your own. How do you even begin? What is proofreading? What if you don't know grammar? Well, I am here to tell you not to worry! You don’t have to be an English major or someone who loves working with words to be your own proofreader. It just takes a little knowledge and common sense. There are five quick things that I am going to share with you that will help you proofread fast and like a pro! They may be little things to check but once you do them, you are on your way to writing a fantastic paper. So buckle in your seat belt, pull out your paper, and let’s learn how to proofread! First, do the paragraph check. This is where you look at your paragraphs as a whole. Check out the first work of every paragraph. Do all your paragraphs start with the same word? This is a secret tip that many people forget about. Paragraphs that start with the same word show a lack of creativity and a lack of work. They are too mundane and constant. You’ve got to switch things up and make it look cool. Next, go through and count your sentences in the paragraph. Are there three to five of them? If so, you’re good, but if there are only two sentences you might need to add more to the paragraph or if there are more than five, you might need to add sentences together. This helps the paper flow smoother. Now read through each paragraph, starting at the bottom of your paper. Make sure that everything is coherent and follows the topic sentence of the paragraph. Also, ensure that the concluding sentence is relevant as that is important for the coherence of your paper. So, when it comes to paragraphs, watch for the same beginning words and too few sentences. Doing these things will help your paper be a bit brighter and spicier. Get out there and spice up those papers! Second, do the sentence check. This is where you look at every sentence in your paper. Is the sentence a complete sentence? Is there a subject and a verb? Now, the best way to check each sentence is to read your paper backwards. Let me explain. Say that these were two sentences in your paper: “Biking is a task that I enjoy doing. Which opens my eyes to the world around me.” Now, read the second sentence first, “Which opens my eyes to the world around me.” Is that a complete sentence? No, it is only a clause. You might have caught the mistake if you were good at editing, but otherwise you wouldn’t have. If you read the sentences together they make sense, but alone they don’t. That is a great way to sentence check! So check for sentences that aren’t really sentences. Be on the lookout for clauses, and don’t fall for them. This should help your paper come together even better. Third, do the word check. This is the hardest one to do. Go back and check each word to make sure it is spelled correctly. For this, spell-check comes in handy, but you also want to be careful. Sometimes if you use the word too you might put to, and spell-check won’t catch that. So just double check all your words and make sure they flow and are spelled correctly. Fourth, do the paper check. This is where you will read over your entire paper. Since you have been editing your paragraphs, sentences, and words, you want to go back and make sure the paper flows together nicely. When editing, sometimes you change something that made sense by itself but within the paper really didn’t make sense. Just go back over and read everything to double check it. Fifth do the sleep on it check. For me, this is important. I find that when I put my paper away for several hours, or overnight, it helps me think clearer. Putting it away after editing helps you regain focus when you come back to it. So, when you are finished, leave the paper alone for a bit and then come back a few hours later and read it. Does it make sense? What are you trying to say? I've found that this seems to be the best way to proof a paper before turning it in. Now you know how to quickly proofread like a pro. Just remember to check all your paragraphs, sentences, and words for variety. Spice your papers up a bit and that will make all the difference. So get out there, write papers, and change the world! Written by Peyton Holliday

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