Editing and proofreading

By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.Roald Dahl


Proofreading involves reading back over your work to check for mistakes that you might have missed and to edit or improve what you have written. All professional writers revise their work over and over again to improve or alter it until they are satisfied.

Here are a few things to focus on in your proofreading:

Capital letters

Read back over your work and check that each sentence starts with a capital letter. Check that you have also used capital letters for names and places. If you have used the personal pronoun ‘I’, make sure it is a capital. Make sure you haven’t accidentally placed capital letters mid-word or sentence.


It is quite common to miss words out when you’re writing under pressure, or even to miss letters from words. Check your writing, to make sure that your sentences are complete.


Check that your sentences end with full stops. Check you haven’t put commas where full stops or connectives would be more effective.


Even the most expert of spellers will make simple spelling mistakes when writing under pressure. Prepare thoroughly and learn spelling rules and strategies.

What to improve

When you proofread, try to imagine you are reading your work for the first time, or that you are reading someone else’s work. If you had to give that person advice on how to improve, what would you ask them to change? It is a really useful skill to be able to edit and improve your own work.

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