Even the most gifted writers in the world have to rely on proofreading to produce flawless work. Your work isn’t finished the second that you type that final period. If anything, the real work is about to begin. Simplify this important process by keeping the ten following proofreading tips in mind:
- Print it out. Holding a hard copy of your finished work makes it easier to spot errors. Once you’ve read your work on the screen, print it out and read it one more time on paper.
- Put it down. After putting in so much work, it’s easy to convince yourself that it is flawless. If possible, set aside the work and proofread it later. You are more likely to catch awkward phrases and other subtle mistakes when you revisit it later.
- Read it aloud. Sometimes your brain only sees what it wants to see. Reading your work aloud is a great way to catch errors like run-on sentences.
- Use the dictionary. When in doubt, always consult a dictionary to ensure that you are using a word properly. Nothing is less professional that misusing a word. Don’t blindly follow the suggestions of a thesaurus either, because it can be a recipe for disaster.
- Run a spellchecker. In the world of proofreading tips, running a spellchecker is one piece of advice that is fairly controversial. As long as you don’t rely solely on a spellchecker, it can be a very useful tool.
- Let someone else read it. Allowing a completely separate set of eyes examine your work can bring previously unseen errors to light. Hand your work over to someone else and make sure that you can handle constructive criticism.
- Read it backwards. As strange as it may seem, reading your text backwards makes it easier to spot misspellings and improper word usage. It forces you to consider the work on a word-by-word basis.
- Know your weak spots. Every writer has at least one weak spot. Whether you are prone to run-on sentences or have trouble with commas, be especially vigilant about your problem areas.
- Consider one issue at a time. This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Scan your work for spelling issues first; move on to grammatical problems next. In other words, focus on one factor at a time.
- Double-check your facts. Exceptional writing isn’t just flawless in terms of grammar and spelling; it needs to be accurate too. Double and triple-check your facts before releasing your work.
By making the preceding proofreading tips a part of your regular writing routine, you will be more likely to consistently produce exceptional work.
About the Author Randall Davidson is a cofounder of ProofreadingServices.Us, a proofreading services company that offers grammar proofreading. Randall enjoys sharing proofreading tips and best practices with other writing enthusiasts.