Editing and checking
This stage is to reassure yourself that everything is as it should be and to make any final changes rather than add new material.
Proofreading your assignment
It's important to proofread your assignment before sending it in to be marked. Use these checklists to help you.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation checks
Use the spelling and grammar checker on your computer, but also read the script as these checks won't pick up everything, such as the spelling of names and specialised terminology. Also check:
Style and layout
Look in your assignment guidelines or ask your tutor for information on the use of:
- bullet points and lists
- I and my, for example 'In my essay I am going to describe ...', instead of 'This essay will describe ...'
- contractions and abbreviations, for example can't instead of cannot, e.g instead of 'for example'
- spoken English and colloquialisms or slang, for example 'There are lots of reasons ...' , instead of 'There are a number of reasons ...'
- rhetorical questions for example 'What are the main causes of criminal behaviour?' instead of 'A number of theories have been put forward to explain criminal behaviour'.
Uses vary depending on the module. If in doubt, it's best to be more formal rather than less formal.
Assignments that use calculations
Expressing yourself clearly
Proofreading and editing rules
There's a distinct difference between proofreading and editing. Proofreading is the process of checking for errors and editing is the process of correcting those errors.
It can help to ask a friend to check your assignment before you send it in. You can ask them if the essay was easy to understand. Were there any unclear or ambiguous parts? Could they guess the question by reading the answer without looking at the title?
If you're asking them to proofread your work at the same time, there are some rules to be followed. The use of editing and essay checking websites is not allowed.
Proofreaders can identify, but not correct:
If you do have your work proofread by a third party (by that we mean a fellow students, family, friend or professional proofreading service) you must tell us when you submit it and understand that you're responsible for the work you've submitted.
You can't ask another student on the module to check your assignment and, unless it has been specifically agreed, it's not appropriate to send your tutor a draft of your assignment for checking.
If you have concerns you want your tutor to comment on, you can download and fill in the feedback form (RTF, 456 KB) to send in with your assignment. This asks your tutor to provide comments that focus on your concerns.
See how many errors you can find in the following activity. There's also a Word version (docx, 41KB) of this activity.