If you need to improve, or perfect your writing, you may need a proofreader to help you along the way.
A proofreader will check many things, including noticing errors with spelling, typing, punctuation, grammar, missing words, repeated words, missing or repeated letters, and incorrect tenses. Aside from these issues, many proofreading services also check the document to ensure that the font is all correct, along with margins, headings, page numbers and other formatting elements.
Whereas an editor might make quite dramatic changes to a piece of writing, such as cutting out large parts, or moving things around, a proofreader will only correct what is there, not alter the existing content in any way which impacts on the meaning.
Proofreading is something that really should be done to a final draft, before a piece of work is ready for assessment or publication. Any revisions that need to be done to content need to be done first, by an editor, and then the proofreader double checks everything is at it should be aesthetically and linguistically.
Even well accomplished writers need their work proofreading. It is never a good idea to try to proofread your own work, as you are often too attached to it and may miss the mistakes that a professional proofreader will spot instantly. It is always better to get a professional proofreader to proofread your work, rather than a friend, as the proofreader does not know who you are, they are more likely to be able to read the work without bias.
Some people think the value is in the writing itself, and does not need to be proofread. Whereas the content itself is of course the most important thing, this does not negate the importance of good proofreading. Some people do not mind typos, spelling mistakes, and incorrect grammar, but there are countless that do. The last thing any writer wants is for her readers to be distracted from the fundamental message of a piece of writing, because of bad spelling and grammar. Many people find errors in the text annoying, and feel that theyhave a negative effect on the reading experience. A proofreader will ensure that these distracting elements are removed, thereby increasing the chances that your reader will be able to be fully immersed in your writing.
Many online proofreading services now simply make corrections using the Track Changes function in Microsoft Word. The customer can then choose to accept or reject the changes, depending on their personal preferences. Being able to see the changes that have been suggested can be a great interactive learning tool, so in this way proofreaders also provide guidance in producing good writing. This is the method adopted by many academic proofreading services, as the student is clearly able to see the changes made and decide if they want to keep them or not. Having this level of transparency can be especially helpful to international students, who may still struggle with their written English.