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5 reasons why proofreading is an essential part of academic writing

5 reasons why proofreading is an essential part of academic writing

Jul 13, 2013
Academic writing is any writing that is assigned, or written for academic purposes. Whether you are writing academic works for an assignment, or because you wish to publish your research, your work will not be taken seriously if it is not presented in an intelligent way, that means that it has to have proper grammar, spelling and punctuation, or you will risk not receiving the grade you desire, or worse yet, being rejected not on the validity of the research presented, but on the way that it is being communicated. The best way to check for any unforeseen problems with your work is to proofread it. Either reading it over yourself, or having someone else do it, is the best way to scan for any mistakes made.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading is a way that a professional reads a work and corrects any mistakes made throughout it. Proofreading consists of not only looking for grammar, punctuation, or spelling errors, it can also be used to check for the validity of the material presented and the argument that is formed. There are many reasons why you want to make sure there are no errors in your writing, but five main ones.

Reason one: To obtain a good grade

Every course will have work that will be assigned. Many students make the mistake of thinking that unless it is a paper, or a writing assignment, there is no need to proof read it. The truth is that when presenting any material in your coursework, you want to present it with professionalism to show the instructor that you respect the course, and their time in teaching it. If you hand in any assignment that is sloppy, has errors, or is not formed correctly, you will not receive the grade you desire, or worse, risk creating an image of yourself that will be hard to overcome. If you hand in work that is not proofread, there is a good possibility that the teacher will view you as lazy and unmotivated. If they think that, they are more likely to be more critical in the future.

Reason two: You can have your work rejected

Many instructors may not put in their assignment the requirement for perfect grammar, but it is always implied. When turning any paper or work in in an academic setting, you are presumed to be a professional and behave as one. No professional person would give to their boss, or client something that has not been proofread. The same is true of any instructor. There are some teachers which will not even accept your work if it is sloppy or incorrect, which can lead you to receive a zero on the assignment.

Reason three: Errors can be costly

When proofreading it is not only important to check your grammar and punctuation, but to check the validity of any of the information you supplied. If you are giving any statistics, or research, making sure that you have quoted it correctly, and also given it the proper acknowledgement is not just important, it is imperative. If you make a mistake in your quoting, or any of the material you are quoting, you can at best receive a failing grade, at worst, be accused of plagiarism. When proofreading make sure that the information contained within your paper is 100% correct by thoroughly checking your facts.

Reason four: If your argument isn't valid, your paper isn't valid

When proofreading you must make sure that if your paper is poignant and has a thesis or hypothesis statement, that you have proven it. By rereading your paper, you can make sure that the argument you formed is credible and that you have supplied the proper information to base your assertions on. When proofreading make sure that you haven't made any outlandish statements, or ones that you can't show proof to. Rereading the thesis and the conclusion, and editing them appropriately, will cinch up any problems with the validity of the argument formed.

Reason five: Computers don't make mistakes, or do they?

Most people make the mistake of thinking if they use grammar checks or spell check functions on their computer all the errors will be found. The truth is that the programs used for proofreading are good, but they can't detect all the errors that can be made. They will not catch many inconsistencies in your writing, nor can they find a problem in your logic. They are only good at spitting out what they have been programmed to catch, things like spelling errors or parts of speech. In the papers that you write there are many more mistakes that can be made and are much more costly to your reputation, or your grade.


When you are in an academic setting it is important to behave in a professional manner. Academic settings are where you are supposed to show your command of the subject and command respect yourself. That is hard to do when your work is riddled with punctuation, spelling, or grammar errors. The only way to make sure that your paper is mistake free is by proofreading. Proofreading is done not only to check for common errors in spelling and grammar, but for more serious offenses like the validity of your argument and that it is formed appropriately.
The only way to make sure that you have credited sources correctly is to double check. If you have not cited correctly, or have put in numbers or statistics that aren't right, you risk getting into some serious trouble, especially if someone is trying to follow your argument. Whether you decide to proofread it yourself, or to ask a colleague, before you hand anything in to an association for publication, or to a professor for a grade, make sure you have read it thoroughly and with focus.
By Martha Buckly.Martha is a good academic writer. Years of experience made her a great tutor on academic writing and editing topics.
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