Why is proofreading important and how it is different from editing

Be it a dissertation, essay, or a simple email, proofreading can make the difference between a decent and a high-quality submission. A proof-read document can help you in getting the extra grade in college or in clinching your dream job or a business deal. That is the importance of proofreading. Proofreading is not just restricted to removing errors from your document, but can also improve the reading flow of your document.

Proofreading can take care of the following points in your submission:

  • Spelling
    Spelling check tools in document writing applications are restricted to only correcting improper spellings. Proofreading helps in correcting improper use of words in the context of your sentence (for example, use of the noun, “advice” instead of verb, “advise”, or the proper use of “its” versus “it’s”). Additionally, proofreading can identify overuse of particular words and suggest alternatives.
  • Grammar
    Improper use of grammar in your document can distort the reading flow and confuse the reader. Missing sentence fragments or lengthy sentences can be frustrating to the reader. Good proofreading techniques include reading the whole sentence for any grammatical mistakes or to determine if a long sentence can be broken down into many shorter sentences.
  • Punctuation
    So often, we experience the frustration of reading a document lacking even basic punctuation like periods and commas. A document is well-punctuated when the reader does not notice the punctuation marks. Effective use of punctuations can make reading easier and interesting by providing comfortable pauses within and in-between sentences. In some instances, punctuation can also alter the meaning of your sentence.
    A common misconception is that editing and proofreading are similar and can be performed by the same person. In reality, that is not the case. An edited document will still need to be proof-read before being considered complete. There are major differences between these 2 skills, some of which are described below:
  • Proofreading
    Proofreading focusses on removing the errors and improving the reading flow. It can be performed by a proof-reader, who has an eye for detail but does not need knowledge of the subject. Proofreading is usually performed once before the final submission and does not involve any rework.
  • Editing
    Editing, on the other hand, involves checking of the document content for accuracy and consistency. An editor may need to well-versed in the subject matter and the style guide used for editing. Editing can involve multiple cycles of rework depending on the quality of writing.

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