Academic Tips and Tricks

All the help you need for good essay writing

My Proofreading Mission Statement

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I am very aware that anyone who has written a thesis, a dissertation, or a journal article has worked long and hard on their work (doubly so if they are a non-native speaker of English) and therefore is very attached to it. I also know that deep down everyone wants me to say “your work is perfect and has no errors”. Unfortunately, this is never the case and I inevitably have to correct something. Therefore I do not want this process of correction to feel like a ‘hack-and-slash’; I don’t want to butcher people’s work; I want to nurture it. I don’t want people to get their work back and think “this doesn’t sound like me, I didn’t write this”, I want them to think “this is my work, but even better”. Therefore I work very hard to keep the work in the original style of the writer. I try not to replace words just on my personal judgement of ‘how I would have written it’ but only where the word will correct/improve the piece (unless I have been specifically told by a client “I feel I use the same word too often; can you make my writing less repetitive?”). If I can make a sentence better simply by rearranging the components rather than adding/deleting words, then I will. Likewise, if my client likes to use long, complex sentences I won’t split them up into smaller sentences unless they are so long and complex they impair the reader’s comprehension, and ditto those who use many short sentences; I won’t join them together unless the stop-start nature is impairing the reader’s understanding of the wider point.

Ultimately, there are two people I want to please with any given piece: The original writer and the ultimate reader(s). Therefore I aim to keep the work as true as possible to the original whilst improving its accessibility so it can get as wide an audience as possible.


Author: Liz

Hi, I'm Liz. I like easy crafts, photography, cooking, lifestyle blogs and YouTube videos. I work as a part-time proofreader and am currently studying for a PhD in linguistics.

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