Profeading is a writers most useful tool!
And it has its very own day! Business trainer for business writing, grammar, and proofreading Judy Beaver is the founder. Her mum, Flo, loved correcting people so Judy decided that her birthday would be the ideal day to correct errors! You can find more details at:
When writing a novel or anything of great importance, proofreading is a must. (Although, nowadays, its even more important that you proofread a message before sending it online, because once its on there it can never be taken back)
Here I have gathered a number of tips you can use to help proofread your latest master piece or your next academic essay! (I wish I’d done this whilst I was at uni)
First though, before anything, you have to know the differences between proofreading and editing. Editing focuses on the content, on the plots, the dialogue, the setting, the consistency of what your trying to write, whilst Proofreading focuses on correcting the superficial errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting; so for example, it will look at that extra space you put in, or that quotation mark that’s not where it’s supposed to be. It is usually the last part to completing a work piece.
I’ve gathered these from a range of sources over the web and have used most myself:
- Take a break! Don’t go straight in to proofreading your work once you’ve finished it. Give yourself a break and mistakes will be easier to spot when you go back to it.
- Find a comfortable, quiet place! Make sure there’s no distractions or interruptions.
- Use printouts! It’s so much easier to read off a piece of paper than off a computer screen. It also lets you highlight and pen anything you find.
- Proofread when your brain is most awake! You need a clear head to proofread so make sure you don’t do it all in one sitting. Too many words inside your brain at once won’t do anything for your concentration.
- Read it out loud! This is the best way to know if all your sentences are clear and easy to understand. It will also give you an insight in to whether or not the punctuation works.
- Read it backwards! Many people have said that reading your words backwards from end to start can make the mistakes jump out at you.
- Look out for the dreaded they’re and theirs, your and you’re.
- Get someone else to proofread it for you! Ask someone you trust; it could be a friend, a family member or a work colleague to look over it. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will find the mistakes your overlooking.
- Don’t rely on your computer spell check! Make sure it’s formatted to the correct language when writing (English and American’s have different ways of spelling certain words).
- Proofread it at least twice! Once for the technical part, and once for sense!
Hopefully, this’ll help you finish your work and get you that one step closer to what your trying to achieve!