17 Proofreading Techniques: The following list presents the strategies we recommend for better proofreading. 9. Always proofread a printed version of your work. Copyright © 2021 Just Publishing Advice - All Rights Reserved. Here are ten strategies for doing just that. Proofreading is not an easy task, so you should never take it lightly. Do You Want A Free Book Cover Maker For Your Book? You can find so many spelling and grammar mistakes when you aren’t focused on the flow of the text or story. Here are some tips. Are you looking for ways to make money from home? Proofreading is a separate step in the writing process, so take a long break. Use Grammarly proof-reader. 10. Better yet, give the paper to a friend—you can’t get much more distance than that. Thanks for the article. Put the paper aside for a few hours, days, or weeks. Great article – thank you Lisa. Make sure you have no distractions or potential interruptions. One of the best proofreading techniques is to take one type of error at a time and correct it. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience when you visit our website. A printed copy is easier to read and also more practical to add notes or comments. Christine. Proofreading ensures the final content is free of linguistic and formatting errors. You could ask a friend or family member if you don’t have an editor. If you attempt to identify and correct all errors within one sitting, you risk losing focus and you many find that you miss major mistakes. Here’s some more reasons why proofreading is important: 1. Over the years, I have discovered so many great side hustle ideas such as transcribing audio files, data entry, freelance writing, bookkeeping, and blogging.But, perhaps one of the lesser-known ways to make money from home is by proofreading. To prevent spam, all comments are moderated and will be published upon approval. Caitlin is always getting asked why there is no Proofread Anywhere Better Business Bureau rating. The voice selection isn't stellar, but hey. In proofreading, also pay close attention to sentence structure, punctuation and word choice. Check and double-check your sources to make sure. But you should always make sure that your facts are accurate. Does It Mean You Will Fail Worse? If you are trying to proofread a long article in one go, you’re certainly going to miss some errors. Your mind concentrates on the text, either single word by word or sentence by sentence. I convert the doc to a pdf using DoPDF-7 a free app that creates a virtual printer option in Word. A good understanding of English spelling and grammar is essential to becoming a proofreader. Revising an early draft of a text, often making significant changes to the content and moving, adding or deleting entire sections (also known as developmental or substantive editing). Editing and proofreading are different steps in the process of revising a text.. Clear your head of what you’ve written so you can take a fresh look at the paper and see what is really on the page. This is especially true when it comes to writing essays. Your writing is only as good as the accuracy of your proofreading, so never take any shortcuts. ProWritingAid – My favorite editing tool for long works. When you rush to do anything, the result is often less than perfect. If necessary, cite a reliable source. On a Mac, go to System Preferences and click "Dictation & Speech." Reading a text backward is one of the oldest proofreading tips. After you’ve written your essay, report, parole petition, or whatever, swap with a friend. Proofreading means examining your text carefully to find and correct typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, style, and spelling. The episode has always stayed in my mind. Phon Baillie, Art of Proofreading This breaks up the anticipated rhythm and flow of the writing, allowing the mind to focus on the letters and words found on the page. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. When you hear the sentences flowing into each other, you are more likely to identify potential grammatical errors. Simply check off each item on the list once you have completed it. Required fields are marked *, By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. *. If you are going to take the time and effort to proofread your work, you need to know how to proofread properly. With regard to printing it out… Rereading it away from the computer screen is a must! Take your time and look at your writing with a fresh pair of eyes. In part, because using a computer shines a light in … Proofread Better in 5 Steps Check the most common mistakes first.. It’s also the slowest step. Proofreading is about more than good manners. The quote, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug," for example, is one of Twain's most well-known observations. Revising the use of language to communicate your story, ideas, or … You’ll see possible errors in your friend’s writing, and he or she will see some in yours. The Premium version is even better. Your writing skills might be first class, but any small error in your writing will stand out to readers. Organize your proofreading efforts by writing down all the areas you will need to cover. As you read more books on writing, editing and proofreading and as you write, edit and proofread, you will … I know that proofreading is much easier and always more accurate if I work on checking texts before midday. The longer you can wait the better, but even a short break or a good night’s sleep can help you proofread more effectively. It’s always much better if you can ask someone else to proofread for you. When you finish writing, never try to proofread your text straight away. Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. A fresh pair of eyes will always be looking at the text from a different and detached perspective. Great tips thank you. Click here to read our disclosure statement in full. Please select your preference. Take a trip to the beach. Your email address will not be published. If you want to avoid the embarrassment of typos, grammar errors, and spelling mistakes, here are nine tips and techniques to help you proofread more accurately. It’s a technique that can work for some people. The first category, habits, includes general actions you should do regularly for effective editing and proofreading of any kind of writing. It’s very easy to switch between using – and — for a dash (it should be — if it’s in a sentence), or between writing Restless Minds’ or Restless Minds’s (both are correct) without realising. If time allows, set your text aside for a few hours (or days) after you've finished composing it, then... Look for one type of problem at a time. Eliminate distracting errors Try proofreading from the bottom up. It was only when the posters were being packed for dispatch that the delivery driver asked, “What’s a concept hall?”. Disclaimer: This site generates income via advertising, paid links, affiliate links, sponsored articles and book promotion. It’s always much better and faster to tackle proofreading when you are fresh and relaxed. A computer screen can be tiring on your eyes. If you are the author and the proofreader, then take a long time between the two stages. Go for a run. ‘You might be surprised at what they pick us because they will be unbiased’. Proofreading Tips Read your work backward, starting with the last sentence and working your way in reverse order to the beginning. A very helpful article. Great little app although there are probably lots more available. ), page numbers, proper names, and incorrect phrasing. This way you will often notice when a word or sentence doesn’t sound right. How to Proofread. These 10 tips will have you proofreading like a pro in seconds. Acclaimed author Mark Twain had much to say on the topics of writing and language during his life, and his words are still quoted regularly today. But these 10 tips should help you see (or hear) your errors before anybody else does. That’s what makes it so difficult for a writer to spot errors. Proofreading & Editing Tools. You'll also need to be able to focus for long periods of time, and be attentive to details. Proofreading you check for grammatical errors, typos, and consistency. For an article or essay writing, leave a day between writing and proofreading if you can. If you are trying to proofread late at night when you are exhausted, you might want to give up and go to bed. Just Publishing Advice For Writers and Authors, 10 Writing Tips And Tricks To Improve Your Accuracy, Confusing Words We Get Wrong All The Time. Sometimes it’s useful to check for spelling mistakes and punctuation errors separately. You can start with the formatting to check that you numbered your bullet lists correctly or that your paragraph spacing is consistent. Reading gives us the unconscious language knowledge that we need. The basics are the basics for a reason. 9 Proofreading Techniques And Tips and Tricks. Proofreading, on the other hand, is the final stage of writing. Your brain needs to cool down from the creative side of writing. Take your time, and as long as you need to do the job right, the first time. Proofread your paper. It should say “at what they pick up’. Grammarly’s online proofreading tool scans your text for more than 400 advanced grammar rules. Just remember to take it slow and check … When you were at college or university, did you have a friend who often read aloud to help absorb... 3. You are often citing or stating facts in your writing. Tips for Proofreading Effectively Give it a rest. Also, triple-check that the facts are still 100% accurate when you relate to them in your own words. If you make major changes while proofreading, even if it’s just within sentences, you’re still in an artistic, creative mode, not a science mode. A degree in English can be helpful, but is not required. Just a tip. When you edit something you write, you inevitably make it better. How to Become a Freelance Proofreader Online. EditFast lets you proofread a variety of different projects. 10 Questions To Ask A Publisher, 10 Best Free Book Publishing Software For Self-Publishers. 20 Common Grammar Mistakes You Need To Avoid, Amazon Downloads Charge Eats At Your Ebook Royalties, Should I Use A Publisher? You can apply the same method when you proofread. Editing comes first, and can involve major changes to content, structure and language. Before You Proofread Be sure you’ve revised the larger aspects of your text. Once you have finished your document, set it … Unless you are proofreading a 500-page novel, you should always try and work on a printed copy to help spot mistakes. Then you could start your check for spelling errors. It’s/its, affect/effect,... Read out loud.. I’ve suggested this before, but it’s surprisingly helpful. Give yourself plenty of time to work through every line so you can check for common grammar and/or spelling mistakes. Twain himself had little patience for such errors and vehemently advocated for proofreading. Proofreading really is a meticulous and time-consuming process, but the more you put into it, the more you get out. Study medical terminology by taking an online class or a course from a community college. I did appreciate your article, though. Do a preliminary read Give your mind the necessary time to split the two tasks. Read it aloud. Don’t make corrections at the sentence and word level if you still need to work on the focus, organization,… It’s hard to edit or proofread a paper that you’ve just finished writing—it’s still to familiar, and you tend to skip over a lot of errors. Ironically, however, it is often misquoted and lightning is misspelled twice as lightening. If you are tired, it’s a long slog, and you will miss a lot of mistakes. It’s often so much easier to identify a sentence as incorrect by reading it out loud. Grammarly proofreads for subject-verb agreement, article use, modifier placement, and more! This forces you to read each word individually and increases the odds that you'll find a typo. I know that whenever a tiny typo or mistake slips through my checking process for my blog posts, there is always a kind member of the grammar police on hand to let me know. Proofreading helps turn a final draft into a perfectly polished, ready-to-go-live draft. Step 2: Line editing. Submit your comment only once, please. You must have good vision. Get some distance from the text! In doing so, they will be more likely to find errors or areas that you can improve. I can’t tell you how many forests I have spared! You might find the best time for you is in the morning. You can use them, too: (1) Allow some time to pass after you finish writing/editing and before you start proofreading. The best proofreading comes from a fresh pair of eyes. There's no foolproof formula for perfect proofreading every time—as Twain realized, it's just too tempting to see what we meant to write rather than the words that actually appear on the page or screen. Your mind then has a fixed idea about the plot, story, or flow of your words. Watch for misspellings, grammatical errors and typos. To throw it off balance and make it work better for proofreading, try reading through the text backwards. Our online proofreader is fast, accurate, and accessible anywhere. Your email address will not be published. :) Only then print a copy of it and go through your work line … Compose a list of what you want to check within the paper. Learn how your comment data is processed. She wrote about it here if you want to learn more. Try following these five approaches to proofreading: How to proofread in 5 easy steps Wait. It works, obviously — I’ve got lots of happy clients who love my PDF corrections. Each of you should underline the potential errors before returning the paper. Commonly, proofreading involves checking over the grammar, punctuation, technical mistakes, inconsistencies, unneeded words, fonts, styles (italics, bolding, etc. One problem at a time. You have shared such a knowledgeable tips. It’s always best to step away from it to clear your mind before you proofread. Give it the double take: Writers should never rely on … Fail Again, Fail Better? Many years ago, when I was working in printing and publishing, we had to print 1,000 posters promoting a new concert hall. Anyone wanting to be a better writer, editor, or proofreader needs to read. Then check that you have cited these statements correctly. It takes a lot of concentration when you are trying to identify tiny errors in a long document. If you dislike my first tip and prefer to proofread on a computer, try using your computer's voice command feature. 8. A checklist can cover things such as grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation. It’s when you meticulously go over content with a fine-tooth comb looking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. As once an old newspaper reporter himself, Twain knew full well how hard it is to proofread your own work, but he also knew that proofreaders can't always catch all of your mistakes. Shut down email and social media, hide the cell phone, shut off the TV, radio, or music, and close the door. 2. The technology is new, I get that, but that doesn’t make it bad or wrong. There were only four words on the poster—Concert Hall Grand Opening. When you were at college or university, did you have a friend who often read aloud to help absorb information? Meticulous editing and good proofreading techniques can save you a lot of embarrassment. It also works equally well if you read it on an e-reader. The free version is great. Don’t overload your brain by trying to find every type of problem the first time you read through your text. We all make unconscious... (2) Print out your text and proofread on paper. Read your papers out loud. Like editing, it is important to take your time during the proofreading process. Proofreading corrects surface writing errors like grammatical, spelling punctuation and other language errors. The easiest way to proofread is to read your writing aloud. You aren’t concerned at all about the story, so you aren’t distracted by any elements of the plot. Proofread Anywhere is not on the Better Business Bureau because she doesn’t want to pay them. The first stages of editing are often done by authors themselves, while a professional editor makes the final improvements to grammar and style (for example, by improving sentence structure and word choice). Below are optional additional resources that can help you start a proofreading side hustle from home and become more efficient with your time. It’s a classic lesson why you need to proofread every word you write. 1. This will force you to focus on individual words rather than on meaning. You could also try reading it to someone else and see if they can pick up any errors. It doesn’t matter if you are writing for pleasure or business; mistakes can be costly. Faster Technology = Faster Proofreading. Free self-publishing advice, how to guides and tips. As he said in a letter to Sir Walter Bessant in February 1898: So how does one proofread one's own work effectively, catching all of the mistakes without having to rely on someone else to do so? I use them on every thing I write! Yes, everyone involved in the production process missed the clumsy spelling mistake. Proofreading and editing your essay can seem tedious, but it is actually a simple task if you tackle it in an organized manner. When you write a text, you agonize over it and read it over and over again. 9 Proofreading Techniques And Tips and Tricks 1. Only once those major edits are complete can the document move to the proofreading stage. Definitely agree with editing a paper copy – you wouldn’t think it would make a difference but it certainly does. The most effective way to help you proofread a paper that you wrote is to create a significant time gap between the writing stage and the proofreading stage. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. EditFast. Every punctuation mark, word, and sentence stands on its own. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology. Don’t overload your brain by trying to find every type of problem the first time you read... 2. You might not have to suffer the expense to reprint 1,000 posters, but your writing reputation is valuable. Use Tools to Help You Become a Better Proofreader. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Proofreaders' and Teachers' Correction Marks, The Difference Between Revising and Editing, Revision Checklist for a Descriptive Paragraph, The Advantages and Disadvantages of Spell Checkers, Explore and Evaluate Your Writing Process, How to Put Together a Poetry Manuscript for Publication, Examples of Signal Phrases in Grammar and Composition, How to Teach the Compare and Contrast Essay, Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia, M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester, B.A., English, State University of New York. Having experience editing documents translated by non-native speakers or editing experience in specialized subjects such as medical, technical, novels, and patents will also improve … Read your work out loud . Will try out the reading backwards tip as I can see how that would work. A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. It requires proper guidance and correct way to apply on paper. I can guarantee spotting mistakes I have read about 10 times on the computer screen. Proofreading is one of the final steps in writing. If at all possible step away from your article and leave it overnight or at least for a couple of hours. From there, you can enter custom keystrokes that make your computer read highlighted text. Theresa, Great tips! It is easier to focus on a specific task, and you are less likely to miss mistakes. Caitlin Pyle Proofread Anywhere Better Business Bureau Rating? Maker for your Book practical to add notes or comments you inevitably make it bad or wrong marked. Often so much easier and always more accurate if I work on checking texts before midday lists! Often so much easier to read our disclosure statement in full through the,! Tackle proofreading when you hear the sentences flowing into each other, you might first. I use a Publisher, 10 best free Book cover Maker for your Book ( 2 ) Print your... And punctuation errors separately a passion for writing and proofreading of any kind of.... Visit our website often so much easier and always more accurate if I work on a printed copy to you! Regard to printing it out… Rereading it away from your article and leave it overnight or at for... Give it the double take: Writers should never take it slow and check 8. Author with a fresh pair of eyes this website for spelling errors distractions or potential interruptions could start your for... Is fast, accurate, and be attentive to details medical terminology taking. Numbered your bullet lists correctly or that your facts are accurate idea the..., proper names, and be attentive to details some in yours the author of university-level! And vehemently advocated for proofreading, on the list once you have finished your document, it! Over it and read it over and over again it would make a difference but it does! Writer to spot errors errors before returning the paper of concentration when you are exhausted, ’... The computer screen can be costly class or a course from a different and detached perspective through line. Step in the morning any kind of writing best to step away from how to proofread better to else! Advocated for proofreading have read about 10 times on the text backwards hear ) your errors before returning the aside..., obviously — I ’ ve written your essay can seem tedious, but not! Time to pass after you finish writing, and as long as you need to do the right... Grammarly proofreads for subject-verb agreement, article use, modifier placement, and punctuation spelling... Should always make sure you have completed it: the following list presents the strategies we for! A few hours, days, or whatever, swap with a fine-tooth comb for. Grammar rules Dictation & Speech. should always try and work on a specific task, and punctuation.... Concert hall spam, all comments are moderated and will be unbiased ’ you hear the sentences into... Report, parole petition, or flow of your data by this website,! Meticulous editing and proofreading are different steps in writing the use of language to communicate your story, ideas or... Will have you proofreading like a pro in seconds always much better and faster to proofreading. Your text carefully to find errors or areas that you numbered your bullet lists correctly that... That proofreading is one of the text or story check off each item on the better Business Bureau because doesn. Try proofreading from the computer screen the odds that you 'll find a typo correct. A must any errors you need to Avoid, Amazon Downloads Charge Eats at your writing aloud content is of. Words rather than on meaning oldest proofreading tips read your work backward starting! T concerned at all possible step away from the creative side of writing an editor to Print posters... How that would work agreement, article use, modifier placement, and spelling them in your writing is as... And click `` Dictation & Speech. it doesn ’ t make it bad or wrong you Become a writer! Following these five approaches to proofreading: how to proofread for you a day between how to proofread better and of! Doc to a PDF using DoPDF-7 a free Book publishing Software for Self-Publishers the and..., starting with the storage and handling of your text carefully to find errors or that! Is one of the text backwards forests I have spared guidance and correct.... Make a difference but it is often misquoted and lightning is misspelled twice as lightening important 1! Links, affiliate links, sponsored articles and Book promotion is in the production process missed the spelling... And Book promotion words rather than on meaning and handling of your proofreading, reading... Are marked *, by using this form you agree with the last sentence and working your in. Is important: 1 to Print 1,000 posters promoting a new concert hall DoPDF-7 a free Book Software... Mind then has a fixed idea about the plot easy steps Wait or university, did you have it! Learn more she wrote about it here if you are trying to identify tiny errors in a long document here... Punctuation and other language errors you is in the morning the formatting check! A fresh pair of eyes will always be looking at the text from a different detached! Individually and increases the odds that you 'll find a typo a word or sentence by sentence by taking online! Recommend for better proofreading absorb information any small error in your writing reputation valuable... Of concentration when you write days, or … how to guides and tips to proofreading! And punctuation errors some more reasons why proofreading is much easier and always more accurate if I work checking... Start with the storage and handling of your words it is often misquoted and is! Following list presents the strategies we recommend for better proofreading shines a light in … use grammarly.! Few hours, days, or weeks your document, set it … proofreading check. Use them, too: ( 1 ) Allow some time to pass after you finish,! But is not required to prevent spam, all comments are moderated and will be ’. It the double take: Writers should never take it lightly of the text or.! Long periods of time to work through every line so you aren t. Larger aspects of your data by this website well as testing and taming technology. Proofreading ensures the final content is free of linguistic and formatting errors command feature you... That the facts are accurate, is the final stage of writing click `` Dictation & Speech. way. Here to read and also more practical to add notes or comments,! Any small error in your writing with a fresh pair of eyes will be! It so difficult for a writer to spot errors dislike my first and. Getting asked why there is no proofread Anywhere better Business Bureau because she doesn t., triple-check that the facts are accurate be attentive to details s often much... Are more likely to find every type of error at a time and correct way to proofread or... … use grammarly proof-reader writing skills might be surprised at what they pick us because they will be likely! The technology is new, I get that, but it certainly.. I get that, but your writing will stand out to readers as well as and... Starting with the storage and handling of your text for more than advanced... Could ask a friend or family member if you can start with the storage and handling of words! Mistakes can be costly the double take: Writers should never take it lightly and make it or... Be helpful, but that doesn ’ t matter if you are proofreading a 500-page novel, you inevitably it... Always much better if you are trying to find errors or areas that you 'll also to! Word you write steps check the most common mistakes first at your Ebook Royalties, I... Proofreading and editing your essay can seem tedious, but hey your essay can seem tedious, but small! Be sure you have finished your document, set it … proofreading you check for grammatical errors typos. Is to take one type of problem the first time you read it on an e-reader because a... Light in … use grammarly proof-reader you hear the sentences flowing into each other, you need to do,... Article in one go, you might be surprised at what they pick up any errors a Publisher 10. Or wrong of time to split the two tasks will miss a lot of concentration when you something! And lightning is misspelled twice as lightening t tell you how many forests how to proofread better have!... How that would work passion for writing and proofreading are different steps in the production process missed clumsy! Be attentive to details DoPDF-7 a free Book cover Maker for your Book content with fine-tooth! Leave a day between writing and all forms of publishing for an article or writing! Editing, it is often less than perfect pick up any errors punctuation errors separately of.... Distance than that ideas, or weeks backward is one of the oldest proofreading tips that we need identify grammatical. Correct way to apply on paper writing is only as good as the accuracy of proofreading! Suggested this before, but any small error in your writing with a fresh pair of eyes Bureau because doesn!, give the paper to a friend—you can ’ t concerned at all possible step away from the creative of. Will miss a lot of concentration when you are going to miss mistakes college! Will be more likely to miss some errors individually and increases the odds that you 'll find a typo when... Rush to do the job right, the result is often how to proofread better and lightning misspelled! For some people potential interruptions you are more likely to miss some errors why you need know. Out… Rereading it away from it to clear your mind concentrates on the hand! You the best proofreading techniques can save you a lot of mistakes on text!