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Editing and proofreading: A short guide

Getting Started

Many essays have been spoilt and marks lost by poor editing and proofreading.


Why throw marks away when, with a little bit of planning, you can improve your grades? This guide explains how you should edit and proofread your work.


Allow time for editing and proofreading in your essay writing work plan or diary.


Try and give yourself a few hours, ideally a few days, before your final editing proofreading and do not try to check everything at once.  To work out how much time you might need to put aside for this in your task planner, time yourself while reading either an essay of a similar word length or one journal article at a moderate speed.

But I use a spell and grammar checker…

Spell checkers and grammar checkers are useful tools but you should not rely on them totally because they may not always pick up on such things as the difference between UK and US spellings.

Additionally they will not necessarily alert you when there are words that are spelt correctly but that are out of context in your work i.e.  their, there and they’re.

Note also that reference management software such as EndNote Online UG/PGT), EndNote Desktop  (MRes/PhD), etc. are not always accurate and you must carefully proofread your references too.

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