Should I use a proofreader?

Should I use a proofreader?

  • Universities themselves estimate that the quality of English in your essays, dissertations etc. could make a 10% difference in your mark for native speakers. If English is not your first language and you have difficulty in putting across your analysis then you could fail no matter how hard you have worked.
  • It has long been known that proofreading your own work is never as good as giving it to someone else to do. We are just not as good at seeing our own errors as other people are. After all if you had known about them you probably would have corrected them already.
  • Having a person familiar with academic conventions and a good eye for detail to proofread your work is highly recommended; it is a must for those writing in a second language.
  • Plagiarism is the most serious thing a student or researcher can be accused of. An experienced proofreader who handles academic work every day of the week will spot any queries about plagiarism and could save you a lot of trouble. A good proofreader will also offer to check your work using anti-plagiarism software.
  • You can’t rely on your spellchecker. A spellchecker can tell you if a string of letters you have typed are included in its database of words or not but it cannot tell you if you have chosen the correct word to communicate your meaning. Remember – Microsoft didn’t invent the English language!
  • When a professional proofreader has completed your work they will provide you with a tracking document that shows exactly what changes they have made. They often include comments that are really useful and will help you avoid making the same mistakes again. Try to find a proofreader who is a qualified English teacher as they will be able to explain things more clearly.
  • Time is a precious resource for any scholar or researcher. Inevitably, the last few days before deadline are often taken up still working on your conclusion or making final changes to your analysis. Take the pressure off by booking a professional proofreader in advance, they can often turnaround work within 24 hours.
  • Choose a professional proofreader because as a professional they are in it for the long term. Keeping the same professional helper would be of great benefit. Not only are they likely to offer you a lower price for regular work but they will get to know your work and your writing style.
  • Time is money – but then so is money. Yes you have to pay for professional proofreading and editing services. But consider this – a UK native student will, on average, leave university £25,000 in debt and an international student would have paid over £50,000 on fees and living costs for a three year degree – huge investments. Compared to the £9.95 it costs to have a thousand words proofread by a professional and your grade improved – well you can work it out yourself!
  • Make sure you choose a proofreader you can communicate with throughout the process. Maybe you have seen something yourself that you want to change. Don’t bombard them every five minutes as this will only distract them but do establish that they are contactable.
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