THE POWER OF PROOFREADING
Never underestimate the importance of the time you spend on proofreading
your work. It’s the final, and most crucial, step in the writing process. Face
it, we’ve all fallen victim to the occasional typo, misspelling, and grammar or
punctuation errors that might even change the meaning of your text.
Time, or more accurately, the lack of time, is the main reason
proofreading tasks are ignored. But if you take the time to proofread
carefully, you show your reader that you care enough about them to pay
attention to details. Find a solid block of uninterrupted time to concentrate
Whether you’re writing business documents, advertising material, personal
letters or email, correct information is crucial. And don’t overlook those
errors of omission! And if you make your living as a writer, you can’t expect a
publisher to correct your manuscript. Their editor’s job is to edit content,
not clean up your mistakes. You want professional-looking copy before your work
is sent out.
Here are ten
Proofreading Tips that I use. Try them to create your own error-free document.
- Proofread from hard copy. A higher
percentage of mistakes will be found on the printed page than on the computer
- Read your document out loud. Hearing the
mistakes can red-flag grammar problems, give a sense of pacing, and let you
know when a section is awkward or unclear.
- Read each sentence slowly and separately.
When reading quickly, your mind knows in advance what you intended to write and
tricks you into reading what you thought would be there.
- To be sure, look it up. Whenever you have
the slightest doubt about spelling, punctuation or grammar, use your best
reference book to find the correct answer.
- Don’t rely on spell check. When you’re
way off the mark, it can be a handy tool. But if you replace your word with
another recognizable word in your computer’s dictionary, you’re on your own. Use
your own brain for the final test.
- Read the text backwards. This is a
great tool for catching spelling errors. It forces you to concentrate and focus
on each individual word, rather than the text.
- Handle interruptions. Find a quiet
place and a block of uninterrupted time to proofread. If that’s not possible,
don’t rush. Mark your spot, come back and resume later.
- Wait 24 hours and proofread again. A time
delay gives your mind the ability to forget what you wrote, increases your
ability to catch errors, and enables you to proofread more objectively.
- Give it to someone else to read. An objective
reader can catch mistakes you might miss and also tell you whether your copy is
clear and understandable.
- Proofread several times. Take the time
to guarantee an error-free document.