Ask someone else to look at your work
- Another person should proofread and edit your work.
- You should not check your own work because:
- you are too familiar with what you wrote. You will miss small mistakes.
- you will be less critical.
- you may be too tired.
If you have to do it yourself:
- Let it rest
Decide on what to focus on
- Try to forget what you wrote.
- Come back to it after a day or two.
- Go over your work with fresh eyes.
Spell check and other tools
- Check your work several times.
- Check on one aspect each time.
- For example:
- look for grammar mistakes first;
- then check each word choice;
- then check spelling;
- then punctuation.
Look for common errors
- Microsoft Word marks possible errors.
- it can spell check
- suggest words
- words or phrases are underlined in blue, green, or red
- Spell check is not enough. It will not tell you if you used the right word or not.
- Look at the word choice first. Then check spelling.
- Check spelling manually. Start from the last word in your document. Check from right to left.
- Hear the text aloud.
- Measure readability (for essays or longer works). Use the Gunning Fog Index.
- Readability is how easily a reader can understand your work.
- A fog index of less than 12 is good for a wide audience.
- 12 to 14 is good for professional texts.
- The Hemingway app is another good tool to improve readability.
- Common mistakes:
- “their” instead of “they’re”
- “your” instead of “you’re”
- “its” instead of “it’s”
- Check prepositions (in, on, at, etc.).
- Double check:
- facts and figures
- proper names
- direct quotes
- Write your sources for quotes and adapted information. It shows that:
- your work is well-researched
- you are acknowledging the source
- you do not intend to plagiarize
Avoiding Plagiarism from GCFLearnFree.org
Check for repetition
Check for consistency
- Delete repeated sentences.
- Don’t use the same word again and again (unless it is a technical term).
- Use a dictionary or thesaurus to replace repeated words.
- Check if the meaning of the sentence is unchanged.
- Completely rewriting the sentence may be better.
- Check your format and fonts.
- See if you are using the same type (font), size, structure, style of writing, and even point-of-view.
- Consistency helps the reader understand your work better.
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