Southeast Missouri State University Wriiting Lab

Proofreading Policy

Tutors in the Writing Lab are eager to assist you with your writing and will do their best to address the concerns you have.  That's why we hope you will tell us what you're thinking about your draft and let us know the kind of help you're seeking.  However, our policy is that we will not merely proofread a paper for you, correcting errors while you sit back and observe.  Our purpose is to enable you, to work with you so that, when the conference is over, in person or over the Web, you will have learned something that will help you in the future.  Correcting surface errors in one paper while you sit back and watch (or leave to do something else) is not going to teach you much of anything about writing.


We will not ignore technical matters in your writing.  In fact, if we notice a pattern of error (in sentence structure or pronoun reference or use of the apostrophe, for example), we will call your attention to it and help you address the problem.  Indeed, we can help you become a better proofreader.  But our purpose is not to correct errors for you.  Our time is better spent helping you address issues of focus, development, organization, and style.  Correctness is important, but it can wait until near-final drafts, after the most important work has been done.


Allow at least a day for revision after you confer with a tutor


Please try to allow yourself at least a day after meeting with a tutor before you have to submit the final draft to your instructor.  You will probably need that time to revise.  There is little point in meeting with a tutor an hour before the paper is due--if you hope to make significant improvements in the draft.


For information on specific proofreading matters,

go to the Tutorials section of the Online Writing Lab.



Tutor with student 

photo  Allen Gathman

2008 Southeast MO St. U.
Updated October 15, 2008
by Allen Gathman