Proofreading is essential when it comes to writing a blog or an article, but it can be very tedious and time-consuming. So how do you proofread your own work effectively, catching all of the mistakes without having to rely on someone else to do so? Here are five strategies for doing just that.
Read Your Text Out Loud
When you know what you have written and are trying to re-read it you can go into a kind of stance, you know what is coming so why would you need to concentrate? This can be the cause of many missed errors, so when you are proofreading, read it aloud. This way you may hear a mistake that you missed when reading. You could even ask a friend to read it to you, then you will know for sure if it sounds right!
Read it Backwards
Like the above technique, reading backwards will certainly help you to catch any missed errors. Read from the end of your piece up to the top. Doing this will help you to focus on individual words instead of the whole sentence because the flow of the sentence is lost, and in turn will make mistakes stand out. The reading backwards technique is the best proofreading strategy for problem solvers but anyone can give it a go.
Print it Out
Sometimes your brain is so accustomed to the laptop or computer screen it just skims over words instead of actually checking them, so by printing it out you are creating a different platform. Print out your text and review it line by line. Rereading your work in a different format may help you catch errors that you previously missed. By having a hard copy you can also use a ruler or another piece of paper to cover the rest of the piece so you are only able to view one line at a time. I find this really helps.
Only Look For One Error
Write a list of possible errors, for example:
- Capital letters
and look for one of these at a time. If you attempt to identify and correct all errors within one sitting, you risk losing focus and you may find that you miss major mistakes. Sometimes it’s useful to check for spelling mistakes and punctuation errors separately. This will make it easier to spot issues and you can vary the proofreading technique you use on each pass to suit the type of mistakes you are searching for.
If All Else Fails
If all else fails, use a tool such as this one, some will call this a cheat but if you don’t have the time it can be really handy. You can also use word counter websites which usually highlight spelling errors if that is the only thing you are looking for.
There are many different ways to proofread writing, and what works for one person may be a painful process for another. Regardless of the method you choose, proofreading is a critical part of the writing process and should never be overlooked.