Writing and Public Speaking

Proofreading tips for ESL students

Writing your thesis is a complex and time consuming process. You devote much time and energy to it and you don't want your work to be undermined by poor grammar and syntax errors. In this article we look at useful ways to proofread relatively small portions of your own work that will highlight errors and help you make changes to your work.

1)Read a paragraph - backwards!

This is a novel technique, but one that surprisingly, works. All you need to do is go to the bottom of the chosen paragraph and then read backwards from there. The effect that this method has is most interesting, because you are not reading in the 'normal' manner, your eyes are that much more attuned to errors that you have made.

2)Read your thesis aloud.

This is a much quicker method than the one mentioned above. All you do is read your work out loud as if you were presenting it to someone, ie. a colleague, an audience etc. Switching modes of information processing like this (from reading to verbal) helps you brain shift a gear and pay closer attention to the words in front of you. You can expect to spot many errors this way.

3)Leave it.

Simply take your mind off your work for an extended period of time. We would recommend a few days. Avoid anything to do with the work and come back to it later. When you sit down again with the document you are apt to discover mistakes that you had previously overlooked.

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