10 Top Proofreading Tips
Grammatical mistakes, typos, and spelling errors can really undermine the value of your work.
Proofreading your work can make all the difference and is a crucial step to preserving your credibility.
It allows your readers to remain focused on the message you are giving them, rather than getting preoccupied by a word missing in a sentence, or typos, or a comma in the wrong place.
1. Learn about the English Language
Get a good grammar guide, enrol on a course, or follow a grammar blog.
This will help you to expand your knowledge and improve your chances of spotting errors that someone else, or a spell-checker, might miss.
2. Take a breather
If you have just written an article, paper, or some other text yourself, and intend to proofread it, make sure you step away from it first.
Take a break away from it, and then come back to it with fresh eyes before you start proofreading it.
3. Style guide
Pick the most appropriate style guide for your work, or use one that has been suggested to you.
This will ensure your work is consistent and is well formatted, giving your work an overall more professional appearance.
4. Use a different perspective
Try to get a different perspective on the work, as this will help you spot things you may have accidentally skipped over the first time.
You can change the font, read backwards, or change the screen size. Seeing the text in a different way can often help highlight aspects that may not have seemed obvious at first.
5. Use spell check
Whereas spell checkers are not failsafe, and it is always better to use a professional proofreader over a spell check, it is a good idea to run one anyway.
This will notice quite a few of the spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and formatting problems within the text.
6. Do not use emoticons or text-talk
Whereas using emoticons and text-talk with friends is fun and quite normal, a formal piece of writing is not the place for this.
Always double-check that none have slipped into your work.
7. Word choice
Keep an eye on the word choices used throughout
make sure that the right word has been used in the right place, such as affect vs. effect, loose vs. lose, and its vs. its.
8. Check the punctuation
Check to make sure there is the right amount of punctuation in the writing.
Remove unnecessary punctuation, such as repeated exclamation points.
Keep an eye out for apostrophes in the wrong places.
9. List of common errors
Keep a checklist of the common errors that occur in your writing. This way you know what to look out for.
10. Get a second opinion
It is always a good idea to get a professional proofreader to review your work, as they are likely to catch the mistakes and errors that are easily missed.
Getting a second opinion from someone, particularly someone who specialises in proofreading services, will increase your chances of having an error-free document.
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