2.4 Focus on proofreading - 2 The writing process

Academic Writing for International Students of Science - Jane Bottomley 2015

2.4 Focus on proofreading
2 The writing process

Do not confuse editing/redrafting and proofreading.

Editing and redrafting involves changing content, organisation of information and expression as you process knowledge and develop ideas; this is the process through which you improve clarity and coherence.

Proofreading is surface-level checking of grammar and punctuation; this can be done to some degree whilst writing, but there should always be detailed proofreading of the final text when you are fairly sure you do not want to make substantial changes to content and organisation.

Image Practice

Correct the mistakes in grammar and punctuation in the text.

Most universities has Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) such as blackboard and moodle. It provide online space for course modules where students can access informations on course content, assessment, further study. VLE are also used for the electronic submission of assessed work, that enables lecturers to use software such as turnitin to check for plagiarism in student’s work. A further function of VLEs is to provide a space for students enter into discussion with each other. Whilst this would appear to be an excellent opportunity for all students to develop their idea and understanding, and for non-native speakers to practice their language skills, it would seem that many are reluctant to engage in this type of activity, the reasons of this remain unclear.

Image Model Text 1, Appendix 4

Image Chapter 4 for information on sentence structure and sentence boundaries

Image 4.2.4 for information on relative clauses

Image 5.2 for information on punctuation

Image 9.8 for information on spelling

Image Appendix 2 for information on nouns and articles

Image Appendix 3 for common errors


Many people ask a native speaker to ’check’ their writing, or employ someone to do this. There is nothing wrong with this in principle, but be aware that this should ideally take place at the proofreading stage, when you are satisfied with the overall content and organisation. It is your responsibility to make your writing clear and coherent, and, anyway, you are unlikely to find someone who is an expert in your scientific field, so it would be unwise (as well as unethical!) to ask them to do anything which would change the content or organisation of your text; the native speaker’s role should be to check for surface errors in grammar and punctuation, or to make the phraseology more natural and idiomatic — without changing your meaning.