Proofreading is an integral part of writing. You can’t possibly be thinking about handing out your sloppy piece of writing, right? That will ruin your credibility.
What is the best way to proofread? Is there a guide for it? Well, guess what? We’ve got you covered. Here are some useful tips for proofreading effectively. Use these on your current and future pieces of writing so you won’t look like a sloppy writer.
How to Proofread Effectively in 5 steps
#1. Put it away
If you want to catch those errors, you better start with a fresh pair of eyes. Put your documents away for as long as your deadline allows. It could be an hour or even a week.
Once you go back to your documents, you can see things differently. Paragraphs that seemed to flow nicely the last time you checked may not be so fluid now.
#2. Pick one error at a time
Spend your time looking for one type of error at a time. Make a checklist of what you must look for in order of importance. For instance, your checklist may look like this:
- Misplaced words
- Passive voice overdose
- Dangling modifier
Your brain can pick up errors better when you focus on finding one type of error at a time instead of multiple ones at the same time.
#3. Read slowly
Read one sentence at a time slowly, repeating it twice or more as you see fit. Let the sentence sink in and judge if everything’s correct. A sentence may look correct in a glance, but when you read it slowly, you’ll get to see the details that you missed when you simply scanned it.
#4. Read it aloud
If one sense can’t bring the mistakes down, it’s only logical to bring another to the fight to finish it, right?
Sometimes, documents that look alright to your eyes may not sound that well when you read them aloud. That’s the beauty of reading your writings aloud. You can spot mistakes that your eyes just can’t detect.
Better yet, ask someone else to read it for you. That will make sure your eyes won’t play silly tricks.
#5. Take notes
Note-keeping is an essential part of proofreading. People tend to make the same grammatical mistakes as they write. It’s like a smudge on their writing skills that’s hard to wash off.
By keeping notes, you can learn the types of mistakes you often make. It makes it easier to avoid making the same mistakes once you learn about your own bad writing habit. Refer to your note every time you need to proofread anything. You’ll catch mistakes faster that way.
OK, that’s all for our five tips on how to proofread effectively. We sure hope this can help you write a flawless piece of writing next time. If you’re pressed on time and need to proof a long document immediately, just try the online spelling and grammar checker. It’s a handy tool for picking up mistakes in a snap.