The emotions and feelings that you get when finishing your piece of academic writing can probably equal to the bite of fresh and juicy watermelon in summer. This is the event that you have longed for so much and now you can finally breathe fully. Besides, a finished essay is often associated with resting or pampering yourself. You can finally sit or lie among the pillows covering yourself in a cozy blanket and watch an episode or two of your favorite TV series and your subconscious mind won’t tell you, “Hey, you, couch potato, it’s really time you worked on your essay writing!” However, in this very situation, the subconscious mind will tell you softly, “Hmm … you have probably forgotten something, haven’t you? What about proofreading and editing?” Oh, yes! Proofreading and editing! These are also inseparable parts of the writing process that you should actually follow if you want to successfully submit your paper.
Editing and Proofreading: How to Differentiate These Two Stages of Brushing Up Papers
The very first difference between editing and proofreading is that the latter is a more detailed and thorough process than the former. So, if you do not want to spend your time on doing the same work twice, start with editing first, which require focusing on bigger changes in text, and then move on to proofreading, which entails looking for smaller mistakes.
- Read the paper out loud and focus your attention on how it sounds and how readers might perceive it as a whole. Focus your attention on the logical structure and transitions: is the central idea clear? Are there logical connections between the reasons and outcomes?
- If you have noticed a mistake once or twice (or even three times), then it means that you have a specific repeating error in the text that you should eliminate. Therefore, while skim reading the text for the second time, look for these repetitive mistakes. Concentrate on one at a time (i.e. a comma that you always put or don’t put before a specific word, etc.). If you do not have some typical errors of your own, there is surely a list of the most frequently made mistakes that you might want to read.
- If you edit your paper in MS Word or another computer program, then it might be advisable to highlight different groups of mistakes in different colors. For example, red – for mistakes in content, green – grammar mistakes, yellow – punctuation flaws, etc.
- Make sure you do not have repetitions. The vocabulary you use should be quite sophisticated, but not confusing at the same time. So, do not overuse a thesaurus or dictionary of synonyms and antonyms. There is no need in being too obsessed about changing each and every word into a better equivalent.
- Read the essay carefully sentence by sentence.
- Read one sentence at a time. Pay attention to the grammar structure (whether the way it is formulated makes the sentence easy and perceive the central idea).
All in all, we promise that if you follow the abovementioned tips, you will definitely improve your academic performance. Remember: a successful essay is not only about writing but also brushing it up.