Effective proofreading tips

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Effective proofreading tips

Proofreading is the process where you compare a copy on screen or paper to the original copy and highlight errors to be corrected. When proofreading you have to let go for a little while of content, flow and transition. Instead, you should focus on the mechanics of your paper.

Proper concentration is an important skill in proofreading. Before you start the process of proofreading, it is essential that your concentration should be solely on the document you are proofreading. This will help you place yourself free from external disturbances around.

While proofreading, you should be careful with the homonyms in the document. Take proper care of the homonyms, since homonyms are pronounced in the same way as the other word. You should check it thoroughly because misused homonyms can have a bad effect on the writer.

Do not trust spell-check although you

Proofread your document a day or two after writing it to clear up the brain. You should give time between writing a document and proofreading it. Always read the document a day after you have written it, to make sure that you have not missed any mistakes.

And if you can't do that, even a couple of hours can make a difference. This gives your brain a chance to refresh itself and you will look at your writing with a fresh perspective. It is amazing what you will pick up when you will come back and look at your writing again. You will see things that you have messed, things that are too wordy, spellings and typos. They will just jump at you in a way they wouldn't if you did it immediately after you finished your writing.

Do not trust spell-check although you should definitely run spell-check to detect misspellings and typos. What it does not do is pick up correctly spelt words in the wrong context. So, it wouldn't tell you the difference between empathising and emphasizing your different context.

You should also create a physical

For instance, did you mean from or form? That's a really common one, please check on that carefully. These things have their place but you can't rely on it to have picked up everything. Making you still need to take another part and go through your work again.

By changing the font and the point size, you move words from one line onto another. This will make you pick up different errors from the previous line. It's particularly wonderful for picking up a doubleword at the end of one line and the beginning of the next. It gives your brain a chance to refresh and look at your work differently and pick up things you would have missed. Otherwise, once you have finished you can change the font to your preferred font. This will also avoid involuntary skimming when you are finished writing your work.

You should also create a physical copy of the document this will help with highlighting of mistakes. We read things differently on a page compared to a screen. So, it would be worth checking your writing in this way. Some editors still do prefer to edit on what we call a hard copy. Professional proofreaders always keep a hard copy of the document and start to edit the process by making notes of the document.

Don't try to catch everything in

Reading from a screen is harder and less efficient making you miss out on the mistakes of your work. We see and comprehend less when we read from the screen. Finally, reading from the screen makes it less enjoyable which can lead to avoidance.

Using a ruler or a piece of paper below the line that you are reading blocks what comes after it and forces you to slow down and read every word. Taking your time with these stops you from skimming over the top. And again thinking that you are reading what you want to read rather than what was actually on the page. In this way, you are actually looking at each individual word and making sure you are looking at them properly for any errors.

Don't try to catch everything in one goal, separate out the things you are looking for into different stages. Go through looking at the grammar first, then go through again to check the spellings. Have another round through and look at the punctuations and make sure they are correctly inserted. In a longer document, you will maybe take another check and look specifically at headers, page numbers and references. But don't try catching everything at once because you will mess things up.

Effective proofreading tips

Starting from the end of your document and reading words, backwards word by word helps. Hence, it will force you to look at spellings and individual word choice. This can be a handy way of picking up messed words and double words in particular. It will help in identifying mistakes more easily and correcting where necessary.

If you are alone, read it out loud to listen to the rhythm of your texts sounds. Even if you are in a busy office use your headphones and use the text to speech facility. This helps in identifying whether some of your sentences are long and rumbling and if they can be broken down to shorter and digestible sentences. Also identify if whether the sentences are shorter than expected, which is boring and quickly turns your reader off no matter how great your content is.

You can ask your friend or colleague to check on your writing for mistakes. This can work very well particularly if you can put yourselves to check at each other work. However, it can quickly unravel if you are producing a lot of content. There is only so much good when you can rely on when somebody else has their work to do. The question here is if they will be able to pick up the mistakes or will they miss them too?

If you feel despite trying all the tips and advice and feel you are missing things, you can call a professional. Looking for a professional proofreader or editor who will look at your work will really help. This will help a lot in polishing your work and improve on your grammar.

Finally, you will not necessarily need all the tips here to polish your work. You might find that one tip that will help you polish your writing. These tips will help you identify your mistakes efficiently and fast enough. After writing your work, you should take into consideration the above proofreading tips. Do not be the person who realizes mistakes after submitting the paper.

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