The Proofreading - Level 4 Diploma Course provides an introduction to the skills that are required for being a freelance proofreader. Whether you are intending to do proofreading for a living or you simply wish to improve your knowledge, this course will give valuable practical experience through its assignments and will lead to a valuable accredited certification.

There are eight units within the Proofreading Diploma course, and each covers instructional material as well as assignments. Each unit will explore a different aspect of proofreading to provide the learner with a real insight into this topic. The Proofreading Diploma course materials also include Appendix I, a glossary of grammatical terms; Appendix II, a list of standard symbols used in proofreading; and a Bibliography listing helpful references, including relevant websites.

On successful completion on this course students will receive an accredited Level 4 Certificate of Achievement.

Course Delivery Notice: You will receive access to the course materials through an online portal for a 12-month period. Students can use the portal for accessing their course materials, submitting assignments and to log tutor questions. A hard-copy book version of the course notes are also supplied. Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 we are currently unable to send hard-copy versions of this course, but they will be sent to students when the government relaxes the lockdown guidelines.

The course includes the following units:-

  • Unit 1 - Introduction

The following topics are covered: Why the proofreader is needed; Proofreading versus copy-editing; Proofreading symbols; Electronic proofreading; Reference works; Exercise 1.1 Checking understanding of key points in chapter; and Exercise 1.2 Correcting errors involving grammatical words.

  • Unit 2 - Grammar review I: Nouns and pronouns

The following topics are covered: Nouns and noun phrases; Genitive case marking of nouns; Common versus proper nouns; Capitalisation rules: Practical issues; Compound nouns; Pronouns; Central pronouns; Other pronouns; Case study I: Lack of a gender neutral pronoun; Case study II: Coordinated subject/object pronouns; Exercise 2.1 Identifying subject and object noun phrases; Exercise 2.2 Genitive case marking; Exercise 2.3 Capitalising proper nouns; Exercise 2.4 First versus later mentions of a proper noun; Exercise 2.5 Identifying central pronouns; and Exercise 2.6 Evaluating coordinated pronouns.

  • Unit 3 - Grammar review II: Verbs, adjectives, adverbs & prepositions

The following topics are covered: Verbs; The verb in the basic sentence; Non-actional versus actional verbs; Direct versus indirect objects; Subject-verb agreement; Other grammatical properties of the verb; Verb phrases; More complex verb phrases; The modal auxiliary verb; Adjectives; Adverbs; Prepositions; Exercise 3.1 Identifying verbs and their objects; Exercise 3.2 The grammatical properties of the finite verb; Exercise 3.3 Distinguishing auxiliary and main verbs; Exercise 3.4 Distinguishing adjectives and adverbs; and Exercise 3.5 Identifying prepositions.

  • Unit 4 - Grammar review III: Clauses and sentences

The following topics are covered: Dependent versus independent clauses; Restrictive versus non-restrictive relative clauses; Exercise 4.1 Distinguishing conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs and relative pronouns; and Exercise 4.2 Identifying clause types.

  • Unit 5 - Punctuation

The following topics are covered: Apostrophe; The greengrocer's apostrophe; Its versus it's and your versus you're; Comma; Use of the comma in lists; Use of the comma in coordinate sentences; Use of the comma with dependent clauses; Use of the comma with parenthetic material; Use of the comma in apposition; Use of the comma in dates; Use of the comma to separate the same word when it appears in succession; Semicolon; Colon; Punctuation of quoted material; Exercise 5.1 Use of it's versus its and your versus you're; Exercise 5.2 Use of the comma; Exercise 5.3 Using the apostrophe, comma, semicolon and colon; Exercise 5.4 Punctuating clauses and sentences; and Exercise 5.5 General exercise in proofreading.

  • Unit 6 - Common problems at the word level

The following topics are covered: Use of Latin abbreviations; Other foreign terms; Who, whom, that, which; Fewer versus less; Homophones; British versus American vocabulary; Exercise 6.1 Latin abbreviations; Exercise 6.2 Choice of relative pronoun; and Exercise 6.3 Fewer versus less.

  • Unit 7 - Common problems at the phrase or clause level

The following topics are covered: Split infinitives; Stranding a preposition; Beginning a sentence with a conjunction; Sentence adverbs; Misuse of dash and ellipsis; British versus American grammar; Exercise 7.1 Prepositional pied-piping in a relative clause; Exercise 7.2 Replacing the sentence adverb; and Exercise 7.3 Use of dash and ellipsis.

  • Unit 8 - Working to or preparing a style sheet

The following topics are covered: Exercise 8.1 Working to a style sheet; and Exercise 8.2 Preparing a style sheet.


There is no previous learning knowledge or experience required to take this course..

Course Duration & Support:

Students may register at any time and have a full year to complete their studies. As the course is self study you can complete in as little or as long a time as you prefer. You also have access to a personal tutor by mail or email for a 12 month period and our student support team are also available for any other queries that you may have whilst completing your course.


Theoretical information is provided throughout the Proofreading Diploma course, followed by a series of exercises that are to be completed and marked by your personal tutor.


NCFE On successful completion of this course students will be awarded a Proofreading Certificate of Achievement by NCFE, and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the details of all the units you have completed as part of your course).

The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future. The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 4 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of difficulty involved in successful completion by the learner.

Information on level descriptors can be found on the Ofqual's level descriptors page.

NCFE is recognised as an Awarding Organisation by the qualification regulators for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who are: the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) in England, the Welsh Government, and the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland. NCFE accreditation gives assurance that the content of a training course is of a high standard and meets the rigorous requirements of a national awarding organisation. NCFE accreditation also gives formal recognition to courses which result in the award of a certificate of achievement but does not qualify you for a nationally recognised qualification. This course has been accredited under NCFE IIQ Licence by NCC which has been approved as an NCFE Investing in Quality (IIQ) centre to give formal recognition to our courses. We have designed our training courses specifically to meet the needs of learners who prefer to study from home.

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