Proofreading and editing services in Ireland
There is a relative lack of academic proofreading and editing services in Ireland, where most essays, theses and assignments are not proofread. A proofread and edited thesis therefore stands out from the crowd and gains a higher mark than it would have gained otherwise. The more problems the proofreader/editor identifies and resolves, the greater the improvement in the mark.
What do proofreading and editing services offer?
The absence of quality proofreading and editing in a piece of writing reduces the reader’s ability to appreciate the content. Recurring errors, even when minor on their own, combine to interfere substantially with the content. The way the paper looks affects how the reader judges it and can make the ideas it presents seem incoherent. Errors throughout a thesis show a lack of care on the writer’s part for his/her writing.
Proofreading is the final polish that will make your writing shine. Editing means revising writing to enhance its readability. Both are critical to the success of any piece of writing. It is the final and most important step in preparing a manuscript. When a manuscript has not been thoroughly proofread, its ideas do not come across as well as they should. This is where proofreading and editing are so valuable.
A good proofreader and editor will find these mistakes, correct them and improve word choice. The result is a significant improvement in quality, clarity and readability. It means less work – and a far more pleasant experience – for the reader. A well-proofread, well-edited thesis sends out a positive message that the writer values the reader as much as the writing.
What we do when proofreading and editing your manuscript
So you have written your manuscript. It is important to you that it looks the part. In that case, you need a fresh pair of eyes. That means a proofreader and editor who is not just sufficiently experienced, but competent enough to see any weaknesses and eliminate them. You have come to the right place!
Proofreading is a special kind of reading. It means searching for, and correcting, basic but significant mistakes in the text. We will proofread your writing for grammar errors, spelling mistakes, typos and formatting errors. But we won’t stop there. We will also edit your writing and advise you on word choice, sentence structure, style, omitted words or word endings, consistency and readability. On their own, these mistakes are often relatively minor. But when there are many of them, the combination makes for a difficult read overall.
Quality proofreading and editing services in Ireland are not all that we offer. We also provide you with a critical analysis of the content of your manuscript. Let’s say there is a sentence or paragraph whose meaning is unclear or contradictory. Or perhaps a point in the text needs to be made more clearly. We will always draw your attention to these important issues.
Our proofreading and editing services will also point to where a sentence or paragraph would be better included in a different part of the document. And we will draw attention to places where a point needs to be developed or elaborated upon to strengthen the argument. Together these changes will greatly improve the overall flow of the document and make it far more readable than the original version.
Contact us here for a quote, a free consultation and some practical advice!
Proofreading and editing tips
Proofreading -v- editing – what’s the difference?
Editing has been defined as “revising writing to increase its suitability.” Proofreading, on the other hand, often comes later and means correcting typographical errors, spelling and grammar mistakes in a piece of writing once it has been completed.
There is a common misconception that proofreading covers all the above; it does not.
Master the editing process by creating distance
When editing your own work, the most important thing to remember is to create some distance between your writing and editing. Before attempting to edit it, put your writing aside for a few days. It will help you to return to it with a fresh perspective and a clear focus.
Choose your own approach
When you are editing your own work, choose the approach that you are most comfortable with, and which makes most sense to you. For example, you don’t necessarily have to start on Page 1, with the Introduction; you may decide to leave that for later, as many people do when writing their essay or thesis. For example, you could start with formatting your work.
Be fresh when you start
Proofreading and editing when you’re tired is never a good idea. That’s because effective proofreading of any document one has written is an intense endeavour. You have to focus on every word as you go through it, and if you are not attentive enough, you will miss numerous small but essential mistakes. When you are fresh and calm, it is far easier to get into ‘flow’, and the task seems far less burdensome than it would otherwise.
Although mornings usually work best for proofreading and editing a thesis or other document, if you’re a nocturnal type, you may find the late hours work better for you. Whatever time you choose to proofread it, make sure you give your project the time and energy it deserves. If it is a large project, such as PhD, take your time. Rushing will only make it a half-baked effort.
Similarly, never try to start proofreading and editing on the same day you finish writing – the creative side of the project needs time to rest before the critical eye of thorough proofreading takes over.
Concentration is, like many things in life, a question of momentum. Anything that distracts or interrupts you while you are proofreading and editing will make it harder to re-focus and do the job properly. The most persistent source of distraction is your mobile, with its blizzard of messages and notifications. Turn it off while you are proofreading and you will eliminate a large number of likely distractions. Avoid the temptation of checking your emails, too.
Print it out
Proofreading from a printed copy of what you have written is always a good idea. You will spot mistakes far more quickly than by working on screen. The printed version is easier to read, and you can add comments and observations with greater ease while you proofread and edit it. A further option is to print out your work on different-coloured paper to add to the change of perspective and see your work with fresh eyes.
Read it aloud
A useful way to get a much clearer perspective on your thesis or project is to read it out loud. The reason is that the brain processes sound in a very different way to how it does words. Reading something aloud is a formidable proofreading and editing technique that gives you a fresh pair of eyes–or, in this case, ears.
Reading your work aloud–or, if you prefer, having someone else do it–compels you to pay attention to every word. It enables you to quickly focus on aspects of what you have written, such as proofreading and editing for spelling mistakes, essay structure, issues regarding sequence, overly long sentences, and the need for better development of your ideas. Read it aloud slowly, and pay attention to the words. You are likely to get a sense of how the words and sentences blend and, sometimes, collide. Furthermore, you can take short, specific notes so that you can go back later and make whatever changes you have noticed are necessary. You will see a radical improvement on your previous draft.
Alternatively, if you want a second opinion while you proofread it, read your thesis or project aloud to someone else. That person will not be as close to the work as you are and will, therefore, have a fresher perspective. They will notice errors that you haven’t, as well as sentences or arguments that are not as clear as they should be.
Use a new font while proofreading and editing
We have already seen that changing the look of what you have written can help you to approach the editing process with fresh eyes. On the same theme, consider using a new font or typeface. Narrow the margins to allow for comments and notes to be added later.
Reverse your thinking
How do you proofread each word as a single unit, without being distracted by the context? By reading your thesis or project backwards! It’s surprising how many more errors you will find when you are undistracted by meaning and context. Admittedly, this method is a little extreme and takes a lot of patience, so it’s not to everyone’s taste. Nonetheless, as proofreading and editing tips go, it’s quite useful.
Reduce the layout size
As we have seen, one of the keys to carrying out thorough proofreading is looking at what you have written in a different light or situation. So why not proofread and edit it as if it was a newspaper article? Studies have proved that the best line-lengths for reading are 3.6 to 4 inches. Lines that are longer entail greater movement of the eyes, causing concentration to waver. Shorter lines can help you to see errors more easily. We have found this very helpful for a final proofreading, especially for a long document such as a PhD or Master’s thesis.
Avoid the grocer’s apostrophe
Don’t forget that the apostrophe is never used to form plurals. This very common mistake is known as “the grocer’s apostrophe” from its frequent occurrence in grocers’ pricing signs. It is an apostrophe oddly inserted just before the final s and meant to indicate a plural but instead making a possessive. Examples include ‘apple’s,’ ‘orange’s,’ and any number of other fruits and vegetables. And that’s just the grocers’ mistakes!
Check your facts, figures, dates and names
If it’s been many months since you wrote your thesis, time will have moved on – but the writing won’t. References to last year, next year or this year may now be out of date. So, it’s important to keep an eye on time-sensitive events. Also, double-check that the facts, figures and statistics you have included are correct. You should also double-check the spelling of any names you have added.
Check any numbers you have used. Are they written properly? Should the number 9, for example, be written simply as a number or as the word ‘nine’? Check your assignment brief or house style to be certain.
Make sure that your wording is clear and unambiguous. Are you sure you understand all the sentences that you have written. Do they convey what you meant to say? Is anything you have written likely to be misunderstood?
Be on the lookout for mistakes as regards tense, singular/plural, punctuation, sequence errors in referencing or numbers, and incorrect calculations. Make sure that there is consistency in fonts, tables, figures, headings and sub-headings.
Delete unnecessary words and shorten long-winded phrases
Here are some examples of phrases you can replace so that your writing becomes clearer and more concise.
Phrase A better alternative
on a regular basis regularly
as a matter of fact in fact
absolutely crucial essential
in light of the fact that because
on account of the fact that since
a number of several/numerous/many (delete where appropriate)
the majority of most
in the event that if
take into account/consideration consider
completely destroyed destroyed
at this moment in time currently/now
of a complex nature complex
whether or not whether
is similar to resembles
conduct an examination of examine
have a positive effect on benefit
provide help to help
Keep an eye out for homonyms
Pay particular attention to homonyms. A homonym is a word pronounced the same as, or similarly to, another word, but has a different meaning. Usually a spellchecker won’t pick them up, so you have to look out for them.
Examples include “compliment,” which has a different meaning to “complement;” “aloud,” which is not the same thing as “allowed;” and “altar,” which is part of a church, as opposed to “alter,” meaning to change. Other homonym-related mistakes that we frequently come across include:
Formatting your work
Formatting includes taking care of margins, references, tables and other aspects of presentation, and then devoting your attention to editing and proofreading.
Are your paragraphs correct? Make sure your fonts are consistent. Are your margins justified? What about your numbers, headings and sub-headings–are they in the right order?
Consider the spacing within and between lines. In Microsoft Word, you can eliminate double spacings by going to Search (CTRL+F) and pressing the space bar twice. Then, with the replace option, press the space bar once. You will then see highlighted all the instances of double spacings. Either eliminate them all at once, or go through the document on a case-by-case basis and eliminate those that are not appropriate, while disregarding any that are.
You don’t necessarily have to do your formatting at the end of the project. Starting the proofreading and editing process by formatting your work can help to ease you gently into the action by giving you a quick, visual overview of what you have written. Once you have completed the formatting, you may be more motivated to focus on improving the language itself.
Tables of Contents
Do your Table of Contents at the very end, to avoid having to change the page numbers when you add extra content. The alternative is to do an interactive Table of Contents. It allows the reader to click on any section or Chapter number in the Table of Contents to access a specific part of the document. The Table can then be updated as often as necessary to keep it current and correct. More details on how to create an interactive Table of Contents here
Edit, rest, repeat
Regardless of which approach you decide to take when proofreading and editing, you will find that repeated sessions, from start to finish, will help you to unearth further aspects in the writing that you had not seen before but then realise you can improve on. Even just a handful of improvements to your writing each time can considerably improve its clarity and readability, and how impressive the work is overall.