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Section 3

Proofreading means to check and mark the final draft of your paper, that is, the one that you send out the door. When proofreading you look for the true mistakes--what you never intended to say. This includes typing errors, but it also includes anything else that's incorrect. If you discover too many problems for a final copy, reassess your paper, determine if you are saying what you want, make corrections to your paper, and then reprint. Reread the reprint, note any corrections, make them, and then produce the final draft.

Proofreading is most effective when you approach it systematically. One helpful technique follows three steps: reread the paper, do a spell check, and check the grammar. First, read your paper backwards beginning at the end and proceeding to the beginning. We call this "proofing from the bottom to the top." Look for correctly spelled words that are not the right words. For example, you may use "sight" rather than "site" when referring to a location. Second, use your computer to perform a spell check of the document. Finally, perform a grammar check of your paper. Look for such things as incomplete sentences, passive voice, verb tense agreement, and subject agreement with verbs and pronouns. The computer can assist you in this task. Remember, the computer is only a tool that suggests what you can do; you must make the final decision on how to compose each sentence.

Once you have finished proofreading your paper, it is ready to send to your readers. Good luck, and may you always communicate what you intend to say.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 14, 2016