5 Tips For Proofreading

proofreading day

A majority of our time in college is spent writing. We write essays, responses, critiques, and many other forms of writing throughout a given semester. With all of this writing, sometimes an important step can be left out: proofreading. So in the spirit of National Proofreading Day (March 8th), here are some tips for proofreading.

 

  1. Take A Break: After you have finished writing a draft of a paper, take a break. Leave the assignment, and if possible, give yourself around 24 hours to think about the topic you’re writing about. This method is most helpful for longer papers but requires you to get started early. If you have spent hours writing, you will lose some objectivity while looking over the paper. You will be too familiar with it and this will make finding mistakes more difficult. So get started early and allow yourself time to think about the paper before returning to proofread it.

  2. Read It Out Loud: Another great way of finding mistakes in your writing is to read it out loud. Sometimes when typing, we think something sounds correct in our heads. However, many times when we read our writing out loud we can see where an argument or sentence doesn’t make sense. This is a great way to see if your sentences are run-ons, if you repeat yourself too much, and if the paragraph or page flows well.

  3. Pay Attention To Wordiness: We all have word counts we need to meet with every paper, but many times better writing is concise writing. Sentences with too many words can be difficult to read, and you can lose your audience’s attention. Instead of adding extra words to try to finish the paper, take the time and energy to carefully choose your words. This will make your paper stronger and can lead to a better grade.

  4. Write Actively: Verbs drive language. When proofreading, look for how many times you use a “to be” verb, such as “is,” “are,” and “were.” These passive verbs make sentences weaker and can bring down an entire paper. Try to reorder the sentence so that you can remove the linking passive verbs and insert stronger, more powerful ones. To check, press “ctrl” and “f” on your keyboard and then search for those words. It may shock you to see how many times you use passive voice.

  5. Ask Someone Else To Read Your Paper: One of the best ways to proofread is to allow someone else to do it for you! Finding other students in a specific class and exchanging papers can be a great way to find mistakes in each other’s writing and make new friends! Have you ever lost something, spent minutes looking for it, and then someone else comes in the room and finds it almost immediately? As frustrating as that can be, writing is the same way. Sometimes one glance from someone who is not familiar with the writing can be all you need to improve your paper.

 

Writing is a challenge and after completing a difficult assignment, proofreading may seem like a useless check. However, if you dedicate yourself to editing and rereading your paper, you will see an improvement in your writing, and perhaps also in your grades.

*written by Brennan Kress

 

Top 5 Books About Writing

pex writing 1

At some point in your life, you’re going to have to write something important- an article, an academic essay, or website content for your company. Thankfully there are books that can help you improve on your writing (as well as great professors and the Writing Center here at Union). Listed below are some of the library’s best books on writing.

 

Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott

Lamott has written novels (Blue Shoe, Hard Laughter, etc.) as well as nonfiction, so she’s had a lot of writing experience. Bird By Bird teaches you not only how to write better, but how to use your own personal strengths and weaknesses as a writer. It’s about your personal growth through the context of writing.

 

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

A solid manual to writing better copy, social media posts, emails, and first drafts. See a more in-depth review here.

 

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Zinsser takes a more critical approach to writing as he warns against common mistakes and grammatical errors. On Writing Well is extremely practical and will teach you about the difference between good and bad writing.

 

Storycraft by Jack Hart

Storycraft is a how-to guide with helpful examples from classic essays and books. This book is specifically about nonfiction writing, but fiction writers can pick up some tips, too.

 

Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway

What? Isn’t this a book about bullfighting? Well, yes, but it’s just as much about writing (you’ll see). Countless people have tried to write like Hemingway since The Sun Also Rises, so it’s safe to say that taking writing advice from the man himself might be helpful.

 

 

Library FAQs

library faq

We’re here to answer all of your questions at the library! Here are some of our most popular questions from our students and guest patrons.

Student FAQs

  1. How can I apply to work in the library as a student assistant?

Students can go online through the Vocatio Center to submit their resume. The Circulation Manager will review their resume and may invite them to an interview. If approved, the students will need to submit paperwork to the Vocatio Center and sign up for hours on the Circulation schedule.

 

  1. I need more prints. Can I buy them?

Yes, we have print cards for $1 and $5, it just depends on how many prints you need. If you need to do a print refund, though, that falls under IT- you can request one here.

 

  1. I need to request transcripts. Where can I do that?

The library does not handle transcripts. We can transfer you to the registrar’s office instead, or you can request them online via the registrar’s page.

 

4. I need to keep this book for a little longer than the due date for a project, but I’ve reached my renewal limit. Can you help?

Yes, generally we can extend the due date of a book when a student needs it for school-related purposes.

 

5. Can the library schedule appointments for the Writing Center?

No, the library and the Writing Center are separate entities (that do work together, though)! You can schedule an appointment with the Writing Center through their website here.

 

6. What are the library’s hours?

You can view the library’s hours 24/7 on our website!

 

7. I need help with APA/MLA/Turabian citations. Can the library help me?

Yes, you can schedule an appointment with a Research Coach for help with citations. You can also check out the APA manual, the MLA manual, and the Turabian manual from the library.

 

Guest FAQs

 

  1. Does the library offer tutoring services?

No. The library does have research help for Union students, but not for high schoolers, children, or adults who do not attend Union.

 

  1. Does the library partner with any local home school or education programs?

No, but families with children are welcome to visit the library.

 

  1. I’m a college student at Jackson State. Can I check out books from Union?

Yes, through a local university & college agreement, higher education students at other nearby institutions can check out a limited number of Union library items. See our website for more information.

 

  1. Can I look at eBooks and articles on the library website as a guest?

Yes and no. If you are on Union’s campus, you can view eBooks and articles on our library website. If you are not on campus, you will not be able to view them without a Union login.

 

  1. I’m a Union alumnus. What can I do in the library?

As an alumnus, you qualify for a free guest card, which allows you to check out up to 3 books. You can also be logged onto a computer as a guest and print for $.10 a page.

 

  1. Can I pay with a credit card?

No, we can only accept cash or checks at Circulation.