Essay Writing: Check Grammar, Punctuation, and More

Submitting an essay to a professor or publishing a piece on the web both require you to put yourself out there. We are judged by the way we express ideas, and nowhere is this truer than in the formal exercise of writing. If you want to make a good impression, your work needs to be error-free, use a consistent writing style, and make the English language proud.

If you’re worried your writing skills might not be up to the standard of professional writers or bloggers – or even students – then you’re already halfway there. You know how important it is to check grammar and punctuation before turning in a piece.

Essay writing is an art form, after all. It is used in the professional world, from the board room to the newsroom. Careers in marketing, research, science, and academics all require a strong knowledge of crafting an essay, as do college and postgraduate programs. Understanding the roles of the thesis, outline, research and actual text is critical. Perhaps even more essential is knowing how to polish the essay and keep it free from errors or plagiarism.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the best way to check grammar errors in English writing. We will also talk about how to use an essay checker to do so, as well as how to check for plagiarism. By the time you’re done reading, you should have a thorough understanding of essay writing as well as how to do a thorough grammar and punctuation check. Continue on for the tools needed to produce better essays.

Importance of Proofreading

We’ve been told since our youth to proofread our work. And yes, everyone knows you should do a grammar, punctuation and spelling check before turning something in. The problem is, not everyone knows how to do that. Search queries like “How do I check my sentence punctuation?” are on the rise, and every other website seems to have a half-baked grammar and punctuation checker.

Spoiler alert: just because a service claims to do your proofreading work for free doesn’t mean they will. That’s why it’s so important not only to use an online grammar checker, but also to understand how proofreading truly works. Many people, even seasoned writers, make chronic mistakes because they never learned to proofread. For instance:

  • People often confuse affect with effect. The first is a verb, whereas the second is a noun. When you affect a situation, it has an effect. People who use the two interchangeably are lending a bad impression to their work, which can have measurable impacts in terms of college offers or job placements.
  • Many people don’t understand the use of semicolons; they’re meant to bind two related sentences together, but only if the sentences are complete in themselves. Unfortunately, folks often assume they’re used to create a pause, or that they’re used in conjunction with a conjunction. For example, “He explained the problem to the doctor; but the doctor didn’t listen.” This is incorrect, and either the semicolon should be a comma, or you should remove the coordinating conjunction “but.”
  • Common grammar mistakes such as confusing the words they’re, their, and there are red flags to authority figures that your writing is not sufficiently advanced. Not everyone has a spell checker in their head, of course, which is where effort comes in.

If you don’t want to miss out on valuable opportunities, it’s important to avoid such elementary mistakes. Ditto if you’re looking to keep your reputation as a scholar or professional intact – which naturally you are. The good news is, you can. You should use a grammar and punctuation checker and corrector, and those are excellent tools.

However, you should not use them at the expense of your own understanding. Most importantly of all, you need to make sure that all your essays are 100-percent free of plagiarism.

Plagiarism: An “Accident” Waiting to Happen

While often characterized as a mistake by those who get caught in the act, plagiarism is usually anything but. It’s a serious offense that can have consequences for your career and others’. Not only does it take their work and pass it off as yours – which is theft – it also makes you look lazy and morally bankrupt. Not a good look under any circumstances.

That’s not to say that plagiarism can’t happen by accident, though. Many students and even professionals don’t mean to commit plagiarism, but that’s no excuse. It is important to familiarize yourself right now with the different types of plagiarism in order to avoid any appearance of cheating. In addition to the standard line-by-line copying of another’s work, plagiarism comes in the following forms:

  1. Accidental Plagiarism: This is when you don’t make enough of an effort to differentiate your ideas from those of the sources you’ve used. When this happens, you either quote without attribution, use ideas without attribution, quote incorrectly or otherwise don’t leave a trail to the original source. Therefore, you do not give the author proper credit, and a mistake becomes a serious breach of ethics.
  2. Self-Plagiarism: When you use your own writing over again, that’s called self-plagiarism. Many people believe one’s work is one’s work to do what they see fit with, but that is not so. When you’re given an assignment in college, for instance, the professor is expecting you to go formulate original ideas, not copy even from your own previous work. In the career world, where you’re being paid to create valuable content, repurposing your own work is even more serious. It can lead to duplicate pieces online (which is bad for SEO), steal value from another publication, or get you into legal trouble.
  3. Patchwork Plagiarism: This is one of the most common forms of plagiarism, and like the others, it will not be treated like an accident. Patchwork plagiarism is when the writer takes ideas from multiple sources and pieces them together so that they look different from where they came from – but they’re still a hodgepodge of other people’s work.

All forms of plagiarism are lame, because it means you’re not doing your own work, plain and simple. Additionally, almost any halfway-decent boss or professor knows how to catch plagiarizers in the act.

Those same plagiarism checkers, luckily, can work to your benefit. Employ them to run your Microsoft Word docs through the algorithm, and they’ll check your work against all the other work online to suss out and fix any plagiarism present. Even better, proofreading tools catch grammar errors and spelling mistakes upfront. They understand grammar rules, can identify typos, and function as a sentence checker for essays of all stripes. If you want your essays to be error-free, an online grammar check really is a must.

Again, though, you should still understand how to catch grammar, punctuation and spelling errors on your own. Let’s take a look.

How to Check Grammar and Punctuation

Because the meaning of a sentence can change with incorrect grammar, punctuation or spelling, it really is critical that your essay conforms to English grammar and is free of punctuation mistakes. Proper editing is not a luxury; it’s a must. If you want to avoid grammar errors, here’s what to look for.

What to Look For

Any word processor knows how to check for grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, sentence structure, capitalization, subject-verb agreement, passive voice, redundancies, formatting, misused words and more. Most writing assistant software will also check for proper use of the apostrophe, comma and semicolon, as well as correct pronouns and nouns. They look at word choice and readability, to ensure that you have correct grammar throughout.

That’s great, because it means you can do a first free grammar check through your docs using nothing more than your own word processing software. Once you’ve done that, you should still read through again to look for all the above sources of error. Microsoft Word does miss grammatical mistakes, which you can’t afford. That’s where a real grammar corrector comes in.

Best Grammar Checker Tools

To find grammatical errors in your work, you can use a number of artificial intelligence tools. These use an algorithm to assess readability, offering both a punctuation check and grammar correction. Many of these tools can be added as a Chrome browser extension. There are several good tools out there, but Quetext is among the best since it also provides a plagiarism checker.

Use a Plagiarism Checker

As discussed, plagiarism lurks in the wings to drag down unwary essay writers. Document comparison can help you compare your paper against one of your sources to see if you’ve plagiarized. However, this isn’t a surefire way to stay safe, because it only checks that one source.

Instead, you want to use more powerful writing tools. A true plagiarism checker will run your essay against millions of others on the web, as well as books, articles, reports and more. This kind of online tool is critical to make certain your paper is certain of grammar errors and won’t harm your good name once you submit it.

Best of all, if the tool identifies instances of missing citations or poor paraphrasing, an automatic citation checker can help you fix them double-quick.

Automatically Create Citations

You read that right. Now you can automatically create citations to avoid plagiarism or even the appearance of plagiarism. Quetext’s powerful citation generator allows you to enter source information, choose your citation style and simply hit go. It will correct missing citations instantly, putting your essay among the best in the class without trouble.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how important proofreading is, as well as how to do it, you can turn in essays with confidence. Checking for plagiarism and citing all sources will complete the effort, leading to excellent papers that get you noticed – at school, on the web and throughout your career.

Make sure you never again go without a online proofreading and citation tool. Check out Quetext to learn more about our products and services today, and get free advice over on the blog.