How to proofread essays: how proofreading differs from editing

Few students realize there is a difference between proofreading and editing. Each element is important when improving the quality of your written content. But, each action is often done at the same time making some think they are the same thing. One focuses on how content is structured logically and concisely, while the other looks at word usage, commas usage, punctuation, grammar and other technical writing aspects. Once you get a clear idea of their differences you will understand how important they are in helping your audience read your content.

What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading is an extended form of spellchecking. Your computer may have a spell check program that automatically catches errors, but not always. Proofreading is when a person reads the content and spots errors computers may overlook. Grammar errors are also checked and this process is usually complete after written content is edited. When proofreading is done it is completed on a paper that is considered to be a final draft. Typos, punctuation and spelling mistakes are sought. Word usage is also analyzed. Proofreading is often done on written content that is printed on paper with some professionals using proofreaders' marks to note corrections.

What Is Editing?

Editing helps improve readability of your content. You may have paragraphs and sentences with too many words. Some concepts and thoughts may not seem as consistent. Your overall message to readers may not come across clearly. A sentence or paragraph can be revised or rewritten. Some sentences may be omitted. In short, this is to make sure the flow of your content is balanced and understood by the reading audience. An editor that knows the subject matter well with personal knowledge may attempt to clarify your content to improve reading ability for your audience.

Tips on How to Edit and Proofread Essays

Have a process to help you edit and proofread your essay. You may need to think about how much time you will need to complete the process successfully. Edit your paper first and then proofread your content. You can choose to print out your work and make corrections on paper. There are handbooks and manuals online and at the library that detail mistakes and errors to look for. You can also work with a professional editor or proofreader that will detail the process for you.