Proofers Blog

Proofreading and Editing Tips…

4 Aug

Cutting out irrelevancies

Academic writing is designed, above all else, to convey precise and detailed information in a way which is accessible to an informed reader. Word counts are often specific and factual data is often central to the argument or discussion presented. In good academic writing there is no space for fluffy phrases or generalised commentary which […]


17 May

There, They’re or Their?

When most of us stop to think about it, we know the rules for ‘there’, ‘they’re’ and ‘their’. It’s just easy to forget when we’re concentrating on the bigger picture in an essay or dissertation and mistakes in this area seem particularly hard to spot. So, here’s a quick reminder… ‘There’ is positional. It indicates […]


28 Apr


If in doubt about whether to use a capital letter for something, the answer is usually ‘don’t’! Particularly in academic writing, where the subject matter seems important and the conclusions consequential, many of us have a tendency to emphasise the people, institutions, materials or subject matter with capital letters and, more often than not, we […]


13 Mar

‘Et al.’ – Correct Usage for Harvard Referencing


A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the idea that in-text references are a ‘quick link’ to the sources given in the reference list at the end of your essay. ‘Et al.’ is simply a way of making your in-text reference more concise and unobtrusive. Where a source document has been written by more […]


1 Mar

Tenses – which one?


One of the trickiest things to get right in academic writing – particularly if English is not your first language – is the tense. It’s also one of the hardest mistakes to pick up on once you are reading through your own work pre-submission. Editors read academic essays day in day out and asking an […]


22 Feb

In-text Referencing for Harvard – the Basic Idea


It can take a while to get your head round the quirks of academic writing, particularly when you’re trying to research, take notes and put together a structured argument in your essay or thesis at the same time. Struggling to get the referencing right can seem like the last straw. When you’re faced with institutional […]


17 Feb

Consistency – Why does it Matter?


The simple answer is that it matters because inconsistency can detract and distract readers from the clarity and meaning of your work. Consistency applies on different levels. Firstly, if your subject uses conventions in terms of presentation it is important to follow them – otherwise it’s like turning up to a job interview in jeans […]


17 Jul

Differences between Proofreading and Copy Editing

Copy Editing

Many people presume that proofreaders and copyeditors carry out the same tasks. Even though their tasks are similar, there area number of differences in their responsibilities. These are outlined below. Proofreading According to the Society for Editors and


16 Jul

Difference between affect and effect

Should I use affect or effect? Many people, especially native English speakers, are confused by these two words. So to lay this matter to rest, here are the common definitions of the words. From the two, the least in number of common definitions is affect. From the perspective of grammar, affect plays the role of […]


16 Jul

Top tips for chronic spelling offenders

Have you ever read a newspaper where you are reading an article and then all of a sudden it does not make sense due to spelling errors, missing words and words that should not even be in there, grammatical and typographical errors?
Unfortunately this is not uncommon.