The last part of the editing process is checking things like spelling and punctuation – this is called proofreading. When you're proofreading, look at:

  • spelling – your computer's spell checker doesn't catch everything

Spell checks only look for words that are spelt wrong, not words that don't make sense. The sentence below is spelt correctly but is still wrong:

I took the quote form a primary source.

Because 'form' is a word, the spell check doesn't pick it up, even though the word should be 'from'. Spell checks also miss homophones like 'their', 'there' and 'they're', or 'to' and 'too'.

  • grammar – make sure your sentences make sense
  • punctuation – check for full stops, capital letters, quote marks etc.
  • clarity – every sentence should say something new and relevant to your argument. If not, cut it.

Printing your work helps you see spelling mistakes. Reading your work out loud helps you work out if your sentences make sense.