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Making the most of Generative AI


  • Proofreading is different from editing. It looks for issues, such as grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting.
  • However, generative AI cannot always recognise appropriate tones and styles. It may flag areas which may be correct
  • You still need to use your own knowledge when reviewing suggestions made by generative AI.

Benefits for proofreading

Saves Time

AI tools can quickly identify and correct errors in your work, making your proofreading process more efficient. This can be particularly helpful if you have an upcoming deadline.>

The following example was generated using ChatGPT.

Screenshot of ChatGPT being prompted to proofread a sentence, with a prompt beginning: Proofread the following sentence: Climat change is a serios threat to our planet's futur. Below that is the answer: "Proofread sentence: 'Climate change is a serious threat to our planet's future'."

Good for small errors

Generative AI is a great tool for picking up small, surface-level grammatical errors.AI programs are based on algorithms and are good at following rules and identifying predictable patterns.>

Tools like Grammarly (as seen in the example below), can help you with basics like spelling and grammar. Grammarly will not automatically correct errors, meaning that you can choose whether to make the changes recommended.

Screenshot of Grammarly proofreading software highlighting errors in a piece of text: the errors are underlined in the text, and a sidebar on the right provides details of each error and provides the option to fix it.

AI can check many types of text

From emails to academic essays and reports, AI can help correct errors such as missing commas and incorrect capitalisation.

When using generative AI as a proof reader, it is always a good idea to input small sections of your work at a time. This will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed, as you do need to check that each change makes sense.

Limitations for proofreading

AI is too logical

Generative AI is not yet advanced enough to check work in the way that a human can. Some tools cannot entirely pick up on appropriate tone and style for different types of text. For example, for an academic essay you will be using a more formal style. With a magazine article, a more casual tone is expected.

Academic writing often involves specific terminology and knowledge. AI tools may lack the deep understanding of the subject matter needed to proofread correctly. You may receive incorrect suggestions when faced with technical terms that are unique to your discipline.

Generative AI cannot think in the same creative way a human can. If you are inputting a creative work into an AI tool, it is likely that corrections will be highlighted for structure and wording that you actually intended to make.

Use your own knowledge


If you do choose an AI tool to look over your work for errors, you still need to be aware for any possible mistakes made. Tools like Chat GPT are upfront that they are not perfect and could make errors. AI may also not catch errors made when referencing. You need to consider every suggestion and decided whether it is correct.

Overcorrecting work

Some AI tools like Microsoft Editor, may overcorrect work meaning that your own voice is lost. It is important that the finished work is still in your own writing. You do not have to accept every suggestion made for your work. For example, removing words for "conciseness" can actually lose some of the meaning you intended to make.

The following example was generated using Microsoft Editor.

Text written in Microsoft Word that says: Overcorrecting work- Some AI tools like Microsoft Editor, may overcorrect work meaning that your own voice is lost. It is important that the finished work is still in your own writing. You do not have to accept every suggestion made for your work. For example, removing words for "conciseness" can actually lose some of the meaning you intended to make. Suggestion by Microsoft Editor is to replace "actually lose" with "lose" to make the sentence more concise.

Inconsistent Suggestions

Be aware that you may get different suggestions each time you submit a piece of work for proofreading. It is important that you use AI as a tool rather than a system that you are dependent on.

Further support

To discuss effective proofreading strategies, book a 1-1 appointment with an Academic Skills Adviser.

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