WRITING WELL: A Student Guide to Marker Happiness (part 5)

How to make your marker happy... Proofread your work!

Even more awful than reading assignments that are full of quotations, is reading assignments that have not been proofread. Poor writing, including poor grammar and poor referencing, is very distracting to a reader and it makes it difficult to focus on the story that is being told. This usually means that the piece needs to be read more than once, which wastes time and results in an unhappy marker. Proofreading can solve this problem.

I have also observed that, more often than not, assignments that have not been proofread are assignments that have been written the night before the due date. And assignments that are written the night before the due date are usually poorly written, poorly structured,  and poorly argued. No matter how good a job you think you have done when finishing your essay at 03h00, it is almost always obvious to your marker that you got no sleep and printed just before the deadline. Good writing (which includes proofreading) takes time, planning, and commitment.

A good way to go about the proofreading process is to read your work out aloud. When we read out aloud, we are forced to read what is actually written, not what we think we have written. You are therefore more likely to pick up missing words, incorrectly used or spelled words, long sentences, and odd (or missing) commas. Having a friend or family member read over your work can also help.

Ultimately, proofreading is a fairly simple task, that doesn’t have to take long, which will always improve your writing, and leave your marker happy.

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Keep an eye out for next week’s post (which is also the conclusion to this series): “Practise Makes Perfect”

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