All posts by Sophia Hanks

PROOFREADING YOUR COLLEGE ADMISSION ESSAYS

We all make grammar and silly spelling mistakes knowingly or unknowingly, which affects the quality of content to a great extent and further impacts on your marks or scores. Hence, it is of paramount importance to review your write-up carefully for any grammar and spelling mistakes, typos, sentence structure, word usage and punctuation and correct them. Carefully reviewing content is generally referred as proofreading. As you read every single word, sentence, phrase or paragraph, you find mistakes. When you identify them, you can use symbols and mark to shorten the time you require editing the content.

      When you are applying to a college, you need to submit admission essay, based on which you are selected or rejected. Therefore, it is imperative to write an error-free, systematic and well-structured essay.

college admission essay

Basically, there are four different elements that you need to focus on when proofreading:

Grammar: Grammar checker that is inbuilt in computer programs are only able to find potential grammar errors, they just highlight the basic grammatical mistakes. Thus, it is important to check carefully your writing for grammar issues. The best way to identify this type of mistake is to read your essay aloud; it will allow you to identify the inaccuracies in your sentence. If grammar mistakes are left incorrect, it will make the entire essay ambiguous, confusing and meaningless. So make sure that your write-up is grammatically correct i.e. right use of verbs and tenses, word usage, sentence structure, etc.

Spelling: it is very convenient to make spelling mistakes, but it is crucial to correct them as it can change the meaning of the sentence. While checking spelling mistakes, remember that you are not just looking for misspelled words, but also the words that might be used incorrectly, such as a week and weak. You need to have a critical eye to locate such wrongly used words. Spell-checkers only identify the misspelled words; they are not able to find wrong word usage. In such cases, re-reading the content is important. So make sure that there are no typos and spelling error in you essay.

Capitalization and Punctuation: Punctuation and Capitalization make the structure of the sentence; make them start and stop. The first word of every sentence starts with a capital letter while ends with punctuation mark i.e. full stop or any other. For effective write-up, it is crucial to know the proper use of punctuation marks such as exclamation, apostrophes, commas, colons and quotation marks. Hyphens, ellipses, and dashes are other punctuation marks that define the style of your writing. Therefore, ensure that you have conveyed your message clearly i.e. what you meant to say to readers is perfectly clear.

Content: It is critical to make sure that your content of essay is meaningful and clearly conveys the message you are intending to say. The main body of your essay needs to be flawless, accurate, consistent as well as systematic. You need to check the relevancy of your content with the subject matter, as well as make sure that all points and facts are included that you intended to say. You can refer various subject related book as a reference with a view to confirm points and facts that you have mentioned in the essay.

            The above-highlighted elements are basic mistakes that writer make while composing a text. In order to identify these mistakes, it is better to adopt some effective proofreading tips and techniques. This will allow you to find all minor mistakes that made the text incorrect. There are several proofreading tips and techniques one can use to check the content. Some of the useful tips are as mentioned below:

            Essays are meant to be read by others, so it is necessary to make it perfect in all aspects. For writing an excellent essay, you need to first write a draft and read it through to ensure that there are no errors. When you are writing it on the computer, you can use spell checkers and track changes provided in MS Word. These inbuilt proofreading tools automatically correct the mistakes you make while writing.

You can also ask someone else to review your content and check it for mistakes. Another pair of eyes will be able to find easily the mistakes that you ignored while proofreading.

            Don’t try to identify all kinds of mistakes at once. It is much more easy and helpful to proofread the content step-by-step i.e. concentrate on each aspect separately. Furthermore, it is convenient when you take a break for few minutes between writing and proofreading content. It is quite challenging to identify errors just after writing something. If you maintain this gap, you will be able to see what you have actually written than what you intended to write.

            Most people proofread the content as they write. When you use a computer to compose your essay, use symbols to mark the changes you make in a sentence. You can also use boldface or different colors to highlight various types of mistakes. This will remind you to correct the mistakes after you completed composing essay.

            Additionally, you can also use online proofreading tools to review to essay and correct the mistakes. Some of these tools also provide necessary suggestions to make your writing effective. Ginger, SlickWrite, Paperrater, Grammarly, Google Docs, Text-to-speech, Proof Read My File  are some major online proofreading tools that help you to improve the quality of your content by making it error-free, precise and orderly. Apart from these online proofreading tools, there are other aids such as dictionaries, spell-checkers, reference books, and vocabulary books that help the writer to write well-structured and grammatically correct content.

            It can be summed up that proofreading not only identify your mistakes, but is also allows you to check the relevancy of content with the subject matter i.e. whether the facts and illustrations mentioned in essay are accurate and relevant, and quotes and phrases used in writing are properly cited etc. However, re-reading the write-up again is very tedious and boring task, but it is pre-requisite of making the writing effective.

10 CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK FOR IN PROOFREADER

Proofreading is one of the most critical steps for effective writing. A text or write-up is considered to be accurate when it is free from various errors including grammar and spelling mistakes. To make sure that the content of the text is error-free and accurate, it is important to review it carefully with a view to correct mistakes if any. However, proofreading is the most tedious and challenging task, but it is essential for improving the quality of the text. One needs to have various types of skills and qualities so as to proofread effectively and efficiently.  Apart from having the knowledge of subject matter, proofreader also requires some specific skills.

Proofreader Characteristics

Below mentioned are some major skills and characteristics to look for in proofreader:

Good computer skills: It is important for a proofreader to have effective computer skills. In the era of technological advancement, most of proofreading is done on-screen, hence it is essential for proofreader to have better understanding of varied computer applications and tools related to proofreading and editing such as Track Changes in MS Word, insert comments, etc. Moreover, there are different types of online proofreading tools such as SlickWrite, Grammarly, Ginger, Proof Read My File and so on, are available that helps you to review your text for mistakes and error, and corrects them. For using these tools, it is important have detailed knowledge of computer programs as well as The internet.

Have patience: Proofreading is considered as a tedious task, as it requires a detailed analysis of the text in order to identify grammar and spelling mistakes, word choice errors, sentence structure, punctuations errors and correct them. For in-depth analysis of the content, one needs to have patience. So before hiring a proofreader to review your document, you must ensure that he/she has the patience to review lengthy text with a critical eye. As well, proofreader should be able to comprehend what a writer wants to say, despite ambiguous writing. Only then, he/she can identify the mistakes in writing. Many professional suggests double reading, reading aloud and backward reading of the text to find minor mistakes. Therefore, proofreader should have enough patience level and skills to do a detailed review to manuscript assigned to him/her.

Love Reading: Proofreader should be a good reader. He/she should enjoy reading different forms of writing such as books, journals, essays, newspapers, magazines, web content, articles and blogs, and even business letters. Reading skills is one of essential qualities that a proofreader should have. This characteristic will aid in finding the errors in grammar, spelling and sentence structure, etc. easily and competently without any hassle.

Good English and grammatical knowledge: For finding the grammatical and spelling mistakes, wrong use of verbs and tenses, word choice, typos, etc. in the text, it is imperative for proofreader to have good command over English language. In addition to this, proofreader should also be aware of various grammar concepts and rules so that he/she can correct the grammatical errors and typos effectively. He/she must be competent in rectifying mistakes including wrong word usage, word order, punctuation and other grammar related errors. Better understanding of English and grammar is essential for proofreader in order to make the write-up clear, well-structured, as well as grammatically correct.

Aware of varied stylebooks: There are different types of style guides such as AP style guide, AMA Manual of Style, Chicago Manual Style, APA and MLA Style guide and so on. Proofreader should be familiar with most popular style guides in order to review every detail of content carefully including style of writing and Style Guide Compliance. Understanding of various Style Guides also aids in identifying the citations or Referencing errors so as to make the content correct and accurate in all aspects.

Have formal training: An individual need to have some kind of formal training which can include high school courses in Literature and English, which will give a foundation in basic proofreading and language. In addition to this, certain diploma courses such as Marketing, Human resources, finance or any other subjects are also essential. It is crucial for a proofreader to possess knowledge of varied subjects in order to analyze effectively the content.

Good observational skills and Consistent: Even a small mistake such as the wrong use of exclamation marks, can make a big difference. Wrong use of commas, full stops, and semi-colon can change the meaning the sentence completely. If a word is omitted, or double space is left between sentences, a proofreader should be able to catch it. An individual needs to be detailed-oriented as well so that he/she can scan the minor mistakes in the text. Therefore, it is important for a proofreader to be well observant and good with details in order to review effectively the write-up as well as to make it precise. Furthermore, he/she must be prompt with regards to complete the proofreading within specified deadline.

Effective communication skills: Good communication skills are essential for the proofreader. If there is doubt about any sentence or content, a proofreader should be able to communicate freely the query and clear it with the client. Any miscommunication on the part of proofreader can affect the writing to a great extent.

Enough time to check: Proofreading is a challenging task, it requires adequate time to print the text, analyze the content, markup the errors, and correct them. Proofreader should have adequate time to perform all these tasks. Reviewing the text only online is not enough to make the text accurate and error-free. Multiple times of reading and checking is of paramount importance for effective writing.

Feel free to use a dictionary or any other kind of help: The good proofreader is one who is afraid of using a dictionary, grammar reference book or Style guide to review the content. Furthermore, he/she should not feel humiliation in consulting or taking help of others.

            These are some of the main characteristics that one should look in proofreader before assigning them the work. However, this is not the comprehensive list, but it mentions some of the basic skills that proofreader should possess.

10 TIPS TO DEVELOP YOUR PROOFREADING SKILLS

If a writer wants his/her readers to understand the text clearly and accurately, it is essential to make the text error-free and precise. In order to make the writing effective in all aspects, proofreading is a must. Apart from having good writing skills, one also needs to have adequate proofreading skills so as to enhance the quality of content and make it readable. Proofreading is a most challenging task; constant effort and practice is required to develop skills to review a text effectively.

proofreading skills

Following are some important tips to develop proofreading skills:

Work on your weaknesses: To have efficient proofreading skills, a proofreader should always analyze his/her weaknesses regarding Grammar and should read more and more related documents so as to learn various vital forms of grammar. Also, the priority should be given to vocabulary and to strengthen it by reading newspapers and other rich documents. Spelling mistakes are also very commonly made a mistake and the proofreader should be capable enough to detect such mistakes and rectify them with his knowledge. Admitting your shortcomings and working on them will prove to be beneficial in enhancing proofreading skills.

Eliminate distractions: Proofreading is the mental activity, careful analysis of content needs to be done to find the mistakes. It is important to stay away from all type of distractions when proofreading the text. You need to have clear and peaceful mind while reviewing the text for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Develop habit of multiple reading: Proofreading is not a simple task, it requires enough time to read the content carefully and check it for any kind of spelling and grammar mistakes, word usage, wrong punctuation, misuse of verbs and tenses, sentence structure and the like. To correct these errors, it is important to read the text with a critical eye. There are several small mistakes that writer makes knowingly or unknowingly. These small errors can make a big difference; it can change the meaning of the text. Therefore, it is important to eliminate these grammar mistakes and typos.  One time reading will not help in identifying the minor mistakes, hence it is advisable to develop habit if multiple reading in order to proofread the manuscript effectively.

Develop habit of reading: With a view to develop good proofreading skills, one must work on developing the habit of reading. It is important to read a variety of writing styles such as books, journals, newspapers, magazines, business and formal letters, etc. to enhance knowledge. This will also aid in augmenting understanding of different fields.

Have patience and good observational skills: Proofreader should be very patient while reviewing the text. As re-reading the content and checking the mistakes is a critical task, one must have good patience level. In addition to this skill, one also needs to have great observational skills to identify minor mistakes as well. Proofreader should check the grammar and spelling errors, typos and other mistakes with a critical eye.

Develop knowledge of different subjects: Apart from having good command of English language and grammar rules, it is imperative to have good understanding of varied fields such as finance, Marketing, medicine, art and so on. Knowledge of various topics will aid in checking the relevancy of content with the respective subject matter. One should have a solid grasp of the topic he/she is proofreading in order to identify mistakes in content. Reviewing the text without having any knowledge of the subject will prove to be no good as one will not be able to check the relevancy of facts written in the text. Therefore, it is essential to develop knowledge of varied subjects to improve the quality of the text.

Work on computer skills: In the present era, computer skills are very important for proofreading, because documents are nowadays made on computer text editors (for ex. MS Word, notepad, etc.) and followed by automatic proofreading by the respective editors. As well, to prepare the documents you should be familiar with their working and important tools like shortcut keys and key special features. Also, if not through the text editors, you can also make your way with online proofreading sites. All you need to know is how to use the features efficiently and effectively. Even if you choose to proofread manually any document, at some or the other point, you will feel forced to use the modern day magician ‘INTERNET’ for which the only prerequisite is to know how to use Computers

Read aloud: When writing a text, we know what message it is trying to convey, so we read it the way we think it should be written rather than the way it is supposed to be. In such cases, we tend to neglect the mistakes we have made while writing. Therefore, it is important to read the text literally with close attention to every detail. Reading the text aloud helps you to identify the grammar and spelling mistakes, wrong word usage, and punctuations mistakes easily. You must try to read the content slowly and accurately to find the minor errors.

Use dictionaries and books: Many times, it happens when we forget how to spell a word. At that moment, it is good to use dictionary or reference book. One should feel humiliated to use dictionaries, style guide or reference books to proofread the content competently. One should also make enough use of grammar guides and English language book to check the errors in grammar and spelling.

Proficiency in Grammar and English language: The principle of proofreading relies upon the ability to rectify any kind of mistakes in a document after it is complete. A proofreader should have enough knowledge of grammar so as to proofread effectively. Proofreading completes and complements your article and makes it more error-free, but if the proofreader is not having enough knowledge of Grammar, then he/she won’t get an accurate output of proofreading.

TEN WEBSITES TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING SKILLS

A great deal of online sources is available that help to improve the quality of content as well as writing skills of an individual. These sources rectify the errors and mistakes such as word choice, spelling and grammar errors, verb and tense use, punctuation, in order to make the writing error-free and accurate. Below mentioned are some of the websites that help in improving writing skills:

  1. Grammarly: Grammarly is an online proofreading tool that aims to correct various grammatical errors including spelling mistakes, punctuation, word style and the like. In addition, this site also checks for plagiarism issues. It is one of the most popular sites among students, writers, professionals, business people, etc. Apart from that, it also guides users to improve their vocabulary range by giving varied suggestions regarding the use of words, synonyms.Grammerly-image
  2. Readability-Score.com: Readability is one of the most important factors when it comes to effective writing. Writing is only considered of high quality when the content of writing is readable and can be understood by readers. This website aims to improve readability of the writing, no matter how complicated or simple the topic is. readability-scoreUsing difficult language and heavy phrases can make the writing unclear and hence prevent readers to continue reading it. This online tool proves to be very beneficial in making the writing more precise, logical and clear.
  3. NoRedInk.com: This website provides online classes for English and grammar to students in order to improve their language and writing skills. noredinkThe tutorials provided by this site are easy to follow and understand. As well, it also guides users on correcting the mistakes they made while writing.
  4. HowJSay.com: This online tool is basically a talking dictionary that pronounces all kinds of words that user find difficult to pronounce. An individual just have to click on the word so as to hear how it is pronounced in the correct manner. HowjsayThis website helps in making the individual proficient in writing. Once the student learns how the word is correctly pronounced, he is able to spell it, which in turn makes him able to use it in conversation or writing.
  5. The Online Slang Dictionary: On this website, one can understand the meaning of any slang. Slang and Colloquial language are common in daily conversation, so it is important to learn what they actually mean and how they can be use in writing. The writer has to be very careful while using slang in his/her writing as they may not be always appropriate. The Online Slang DictionaryIt is, therefore, imperative for a writer to first understand the meaning and usage of the slang. However, it is advisable to avoid such language in academic writing and any other formal letters. This website provides a great deal of information regarding slangs, their meaning, and use.
  6. Grammar Girl: This online proofreading tool proves to be very beneficial for writers of any kind. If an individual has doubts regarding any tense, verbs, words or anything related to grammar, then this site is very useful and can answer any sort of grammar-related Grammar girl also proofread your content for any spelling or grammar errors, word style, sentence structure and others related mistakes. Grammar GirlThis site also provides useful tips to improve grammar and its usage.
  7. WriteRoom: If you have something to write, but unable to express it in words or write it well, then in such case, this website is the solution to your problem. WriteRoomThis website guides you to write effectively with a free mind and also keep you focused. This site helps the user to write quality content with precise and clear language in a short period of time.
  8. The Purdue Writing Lab: This online writing tool aims at improving the quality of writing by correcting errors as well as providing explanations to any writing related queries. The Purdue Writing LabThis tool not only corrects the grammar and spelling errors but also provides valuable suggestions and advice on writing varied content such as essays, thesis, coursework, article or blog, formal letters, It can be said that this tool is beneficial for all (professionals, students, experienced writers, etc.).
  9. Learning Oasis: An individual intending to improve his/her English can take help of this website. With the help of this tool, one can practice reading and writing English, as well as any other vocabulary related activities. Learning OasisThis is customized learning platform that help the user to enhance his/her writing skills through varied practical exercises. However, some exercises are quite hard for the beginners, but if one continues, eventually he/she will surely notice an improvement in writing English. Learning Oasis is effective platform for the people who are learning English.
  10. Thesaurus.com: This tool is one of the most popular among people who are intending to improve their English language and expanding their vocabulary range. As well, this tool provides a great deal of assistance in making the writing effective i.e. clear, systematic and error-free. Besides this, Thesaurus.com also proves to be of great help when the user wants to express his views and thoughts in different ways in writing. This site has wide vocabulary range in its collection and, therefore, can provide synonyms and antonyms of any word that one need to know. However, it is important for a writer to be cautious while using this tool, as many a time, synonyms may have similar meaning, but they can’t be used in every situation.ThesaurusTherefore, it is advisable for user to first check the meaning of word in order to ensure that it means exactly what is supposed to say, otherwise it may confuse reader and prevent them to understand the views that writer supposed to express in writing. Moreover, it may also affect the quality of content to a great extent.

These online sources providing us great help in content writing So individuals must try to focus on writing according the guidelines of grammar. The well written content on any topic will provide proper flow to sentences. You can also take help of proofreaders and editors for grammar check because manual proofreading and editing will give perfection to your content.