OIST has a dedicated Proofreading Service to eliminate errors in English.  Please use it!  Contact / ext 23317 for any requirements.

It is of the utmost importance that all OIST documents meet a high standard, whether internal or external. Errors can impact the integrity of an organization.  

The Proofreading Service provided here at OIST can improve the quality, accuracy and effectiveness of all your written communication.

Proofreading is the meticulous process of correcting surface errors in documents, such as grammatical, spelling, punctuation and other language mistakes, across a range of different media for your business communication, from reports and presentations, to website content and social media posts, advertisements/posters, letters, minutes and email.

Proofreaders take delight in seeking out those small errors which would otherwise go unnoticed – most errors eventually do get noticed by someone, but at this point it is usually too late to edit!  This could be harmful or embarrassing to you personally, or as an organization.

Close attention to detail will ensure your document is clear, consistent and precise throughout. Checks will cover:

  • typos
  • spelling
  • grammar
  • syntax
  • punctuation
  • sense
  • consistency
  • tautology
  • clarity
  • tone
  • ambiguity
  • tense
  • abbreviations
  • missing words/text
  • paragraphs

Beyond this, extra checks include formatting and structure, style consistency, number usage, abbreviation usage, headings/sub-headings, page numbering, referencing and so on.

Documents will be returned quickly and where possible, within the requested timeframe/deadline.  Most importantly, every document received is treated as 100% confidential.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Proofreading Service with any of your requirements.

Tina Mularski
Communication & Public Relations Division, Center Building, Level A / ext 23317

Please note: For technical editing, please contact Steve Douglas Aird, Technical Editor (Faculty Affairs Office); / ext 23584

Brief Overview

The fundamental rules of English grammar never change, and the importance of proofreading to ensure your writing is grammatically correct will always be of the utmost importance.  The English language is complicated, and far more difficult to write than it is to speak.  Even educated native English speakers continue to make common errors throughout their lives.

It is easy to powerfully change the entire meaning of a sentence, by lack or overuse of punctuation (especially commas)!  Ambiguous sentences are hard to understand and can be easily misinterpreted.

Also in English, the meaning of the sentence can change dramatically, depending on the order of the words!  The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences (syntax), is of the greatest importance. 

In the examples below you will see how the order of the words can leave a sentence very unclear and difficult to understand:



Peter saw a fox looking out of the window of the room: (would suggest that it is the fox looking out of the window)

Looking out of the window of the room, Peter saw a fox.

Mother cooked a meal for the visitor made of oysters: (would suggest that the visitor is made of oysters)

Mother cooked a meal made of oysters for the visitor.

James made a sewing machine entirely from his head for his mother: (would suggest that the sewing machine is made from the contents of his head)

James, entirely from his head, made a sewing machine for his mother.

The basket was carried by a girl full of flowers: (would suggest that the girl is full of flowers, not the basket)

The basket full of flowers was carried by a girl.

The boy wrote to the President who lives next door: (would suggest that the President lives next door to the boy)

The boy who lives next door, wrote to the President.


Saying the same thing twice but in different words (tautology) can also interrupt the flow of your document (unnecessary words/expressions).  However, tautology can be used to express something, for extra emphasis, to convey something important. 

In logic, it is a statement that is true by necessity or by its logical form.

  • The students will take turns, one after the other.
  • Please pre-pay in advance.
  • They hiked to the summit at the top of the mountain.
  • She was a dark-haired brunette.
  • I loved reading Sam’s autobiography of his own life.
  • There is a lot of frozen ice on the road.
  • In Rome, we saw dilapidated ruins.
  • Both settlements can be processed at once together or separately one by one.