Proofreading

I specialise in dissertations, theses, academic papers and books, but I’m very happy to look at any text that needs to be improved. I only charge by the hour (not per word or per page), but I provide an estimate of the total cost before I agree to take on a job. A PhD thesis or book will usually be £200-£400 depending on the length and complexity, while a dissertation is usually around £75-150. Note that proofreading and copy-editing are different skills, requiring different grades of intervention.

Usually work is sent to me a short time before submission/publication, but if you are finding that poor English is holding you back at in your studies and is costing you marks, you might like to consider my ‘reflective’ proofing service. Particularly at university level, it is not the job of your lecturers to correct your English, and so they are unlikely to mark up this kind of error. I frequently have customers tell me that they have been spelling a word incorrectly for years, and that I am the first person to point it out. To address this, I offer ‘reflective’ proofing i.e. looking at work that you have already submitted and which received a mark that you feel is not indicative of your true ability. I will proof this just as I would any other piece of work, and then provide a tailored report, listing the areas in which I think your English is compromising your marks, offering you help with all the areas listed below, and with the emphasis firmly on future work.

What can I do for you?

  • I can correct errors in spelling and grammar. Your work will be returned in the format that you submit it (i.e. hard copy will be marked up by hand; soft copy will be corrected with tracked changes). Every error in spelling or grammar will be corrected. If it isn’t clear to me how to correct your work (for example, if I am not sure what you are trying to say, or if I want to offer more than one alternative), I will list these instances in the report, with suggestions wherever possible.
  • I can help you avoid errors in spelling and grammar in the future. My report will give details of any errors you are making repeatedly, with clear instructions on what the correct usage should be and quick, simple ways to fix it. For example, if you were writing in Word and continually using American spellings, I might write something like this: ‘page 2, paragraph 1: US spelling of ‘behavior’. The UK spelling is ‘behaviour’. I have fixed all of these using the Find and Replace tool in the Edit menu. To avoid this in the future, always check that your language is set to UK English (Tools menu and then select Language) as this will ensure that the spellcheck tool picks this up as an error. As a general rule of thumb, US spellings have fewer letters and often drop the letter ‘u’, for example in words such as ‘colour’ and ‘humour’ (US spellings ‘color’ and ‘humor’). US spellings also tend to reverse the letters at the end of words that appear in UK English with ‘re’ at the end, such as ‘centre’ (US spelling ‘center’).’
  • I can help you avoid other faults and flaws in your writing. Obviously, there is a lot more to good writing than correct spelling and grammar. Often there are a whole host of other issues, such as poor formatting, inadequate construction, inelegant or unidiomatic English, unclear phrasing, monotonous vocabulary, errors in diagrams and poor referencing. My report lists all of these and suggests clear, simple ways to improve your work.
  • I can work with you to get a finished product that shows the best of your ability. Once I have read your work and you have read my report, I will continue to look at further drafts and offer as much help with the editing process as you need, until we are content that your text is as good as it can be.

What can’t I do for you?

  • I can’t catch factual errors. Although I have been known to spot factual errors, if you are submitting a complex paper on the economics of the Norwegian fisheries policy and you spell the name of the relevant minister incorrectly, I’m afraid I probably won’t notice. That is a mistake in the content, rather than the presentation, formatting, spelling or grammar. Ultimately, you still have to take responsibility for the content of your work.
  • I can’t turn around your work in ten minutes. Of course I will turn it around as quickly as I can, but please understand that your work is unlikely to be only job I have. I will always tell you how quickly I can get your work back to you and it’s very helpful to know about deadlines so that I can plan my work. However, the bottom line is this: the longer you can give me, the better I can do, and the more you will learn from the process. If you’d like to use my services and you’re not sure whether I can meet your deadline, please just ask!
  • I can’t write your work for you! I’m here to help you write, not to write for you. It sounds obvious, and yet …

Prices: £21.85 per hour, plus £21.85 per report. Regular customers may be offered a lower hourly rate. 

Each piece of work is different, but as a rough guide you should expect a thesis to cost around £250-£450 and take between seven and fourteen days to complete. I usually ask customers to send me a sample of their work, in order to provide them with both a tailored, more accurate estimate, as well as an idea of what their work might look like once I have finished proofreading it.

‘The proofreading service Jess provides is incredible. Not only is she thorough, she kept me updated throughout the process (which was remarkably quick), and sent on a detailed report full of helpful tips in addition to the highlighted in-text adjustments. Saved me so much time, and I couldn’t have hoped for a more reasonable price.’ Owen Abbott (studied sociology, philosophy and anthropology at the University of Exeter)

‘Your email saying you could proof my thesis was like angels’ trumpets after the panic I have been through. I could not thank you more.’ Dr. Ke Shi, PhD (studied performativity at the University of Bristol).

‘I can’t thank you enough for the difference you made to my work. I feel really proud of it now reading though. I have recommended you countless times recently!’ Dr. Faye Taylor, PhD (studied tourism at the University of Bedfordshire).

‘Oh Jess!! I don’t know how to thank you enough!!! I think you are my degree saver! Thank you Thank you Thank you!’ Ms. Polina Chebanenko (studied sociology at the University of Bristol)

‘Jess, your service is incredible!’ Nattayanee Chatiketu (studied tourism at the University of Bedfordshire)

Jess’s proofreading has saved me time, stress and embarrassment on more occasions than I care to remember. Along with her editing comes a great deal of wit and wisdom – she’s exactly the person you want in your corner when facing an important deadline. I can’t thank her enough, or recommend her services more highly.’ – Dr Emily Baughan (lecturer in History, University of Sheffield)

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