One of the most basic parts of writing well is simply to proofread. Even professional writers proofread, so of course our students need to proofread. Writing is a process and after you write your assignment or essay or email (OK, probably not texts) you must still proofread.

We suggest the following approach:

Check an essay’s structure and organization. Does it have a clear thesis statement? Are the topics in the right order? Do you have good topic sentences for each paragraph? Is the conclusion strong?

Hunt grammatical mistakes. Is the verb tense consistent? Are plurals correct, and do they affect any verbs? Can you find fragment or run-on sentences? What about smaller mistakes such as missing commas, wrong capitalization, or misspellings?

However, know this: it is easier to hear mistakes than see them. Read your writing aloud and listen to it. Does it sound right? Did you trip over what you thought you said versus what you actually wrote? Better yet, have a parent or friend read it aloud. If they can’t figure out what you mean, then there’s a problem and you need to revise or make corrections.

Proofreading is not busy work. It is not punishment. It is not even extra work because it is a totally necessary part of the writing process everyone must do.

Let’s start out the New Year with a great habit: proofreading!

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