Make the best of your chances

Most universities stipulate that a PhD thesis must be proofread before it’s handed in. A friend or family member can do this for you; but it’s wiser to call in a professional. Correct spelling, grammar and punctuation, proper layout and accurate references are vital, naturally. But you also need help from someone you can rely on to understand your topic and suggest proper academic language.

Careful proofreading and editing by a professional editor will make all the difference when an examiner reads your work.

What a proofreader/editor can’t do

Your thesis must be all your own work, of course. It cannot be written for you by someone else. So university regulations say a proofreader/editor is not allowed to:

  • – change the text to make the arguments more developed
  • – contribute new ideas
  • – correct the information, if it’s wrong
  • – shorten the thesis so it’s within the word count stipulated
  • – translate it from another language

…and what a proofreader can do

Universities believe their students deserve a fair chance to get their arguments across. They say a proofreader/editor can:

  • – check the spelling and punctuation
  • – ensure the grammar and syntax are standard written English
  • – shorten sentences which are too long, and edit long paragraphs
  • – suggest better usage (for example, changing passive to active)
  • – ensure footnotes and reference lists are orderly and consistent
  • – ensure page numbers and paragraph titles are consistent
  • – ensure clear layout, including tables, diagrams etc