When we say proofreading, we refer to the process of examining your text carefully to find and correct mistakes in spelling or typographical errors, punctuation, and grammar. For effective proofreading, the first step is to find ways to experience what you have written down differently than how you originally had it written. What that means is that working from the beginning to the end or reading silently from your computer allows you to get too caught up in the “flow” of your writing -to “read” what you intended to say, but not what you actually have written down. Reading this way means you are most likely to miss the mistakes you missed before. This article describes effective proofreading strategies to help you succeed with your proofreading and eliminate any misconception about proofreading.
Print out Your Document (Avoid Working on Your Computer Screen)
Many people find it easier to proofread with a physical document, and that’s because we all have practiced more at hard-copy reading; therefore, rely on your strengths. By printing the document out, you are likely to find more mistakes, and it also allows you to proofread in more places.
Read Your Paper Out Loud to Yourself or Get Someone to Read It To You
This is particularly helpful for spotting run-on sentences and fragments. That’s not all, reading aloud will help you hear other problems that you may not have noticed if you are reading silently. This proofreading strategy will enable you to read slowly, and that is what proofreading is all about.
Also, if you have a listener beside you, you can ask the person to note any mismatch between what you read out loud and what you have written. Another thing you can do is have the person read back to you and make notes of any spot that causes him to stumble or pause. You might want to note that part, that’s most likely the trouble part.
Try Reading the Document or Paper in Reverse (From the End Back to the Beginning)
This is a proofreading strategy that will keep you from moving past mistakes too easily. It is slow. However, this kind of deliberate one-line-at-a-time technique employs exactly the kind of disciple that differentiates experienced and polished writers from easy-to-spot amateurs.
You must step away from the document whenever possible before proofreading and during proofreading. This is essential, especially if you are the author of the text or document. When you are too close to the document, it will be difficult to have a clear and objective eye on the text. So take breaks from time to time. Change your surrounding or environment before you return to the text or manuscript.
Use the Search Function on Your System to Find Mistakes You Commonly Make
If you tend to mistake “it” and “it’s”, search for “it”, and if dangling modifiers are your problem, search for “-ing.” Search for question marks or opening parentheses if you tend to leave out the closing ones.
Use Proofreading Tools
When it comes to proofreading, embrace technology. Technology is your friend. There are several proofreading tools online that will help you catch grammatical errors, spelling or typographical errors, and some syntax errors that you might have missed.
You can use these tools as a first scan. They will help detect detachable errors. Nevertheless, homonyms and word choice are often only found by the human eye.
Use a Checklist
Create a checklist of the errors you often make and make sure you particularly look for them while you proofread.
Read Over and Over Again
You can not proofread a document once and expect it to be enough to detect all errors. You must read your document again and again and again until you cannot find any error.
You can still read more about proofreading strategies!