A key part of proofreading is taking the time to process everything you've written down. The process can seem almost impossible, the constant battle with your eyes and brain telling you everything looks fine, and nothing is wrong with what you've just written.
Here are some essential proofreading tips to help you master proofreading.
Apply a Checklist
Organise a list of valuable things to look out for, for example areas like agreement nouns, verbs, pronouns, antecedents, and number style.
Check for Factual Accuracy
Go over your facts, figures, and proper names rigorously. If you're inserting at the last minute, make sure the information is highlighted so that you remember where to put it in your document.
Verbalise Your Document
Read out loud and discover all of those pesky errors you've missed.
Use a Ruler
Use a ruler to cover the text following the line you are proofreading, moving the ruler down as you go. This helps your eyes to focus on one line of text at a time and stops you from reading too quickly.
Check Your Format is Correct
If you have specified format to follow, make sure your document complies with the instructions you've been given. Making sure page numbering, alignment, fonts, sizes, and headlines are all within the parameters you've been given.
Repeat Your Proofread
Go over the revisions you've made, check through the document with a fine tooth comb and not just a quick spot-check. You may have missed something.
Before You Proofread Take a Break
Don't proofread your document straight away, leave it a little while, otherwise you'll miss so many typos. Proofread the day after.
Don't Trust Your Spellchecker
Read every word over and make sure you've used the right ones. Use a thesaurus or dictionary if you're happy.
Check for the Most Missed Mistakes
Same sounding words, and words that look the same such as effect, affect, compliment and complement, are so easy to miss.
Make a Print Out
If you find it difficult to pick mistakes up from a screen, print out a hardcopy instead. This gives you the opportunity to go over your work somewhere that is distraction free and quiet.
Online Tools Make Proofreading Simpler
Proofreading a book, blog post or article can be an arduous task, but thankfully with modern technology its easier than ever to catch spelling, punctuation, and mistakes in formatting. Not everyone can afford to pay for an editor or proofreader, there are, however, some simple tips and tricks to make your proofreading a little easier.
Save Your Chapters Separately
This is a simple thing anyone can do to keep their manuscripts intact, by simply copy and pasting each chapter into a separate document and saving a copy on their pc, and a backup copy.
Why this Essential
Often, as we all know, the internet can crash, or your computer can go the same way, leaving you with unsaved pages of work.
Using the Word Find Feature
The word find feature on any office software can save you a lot of time, and help find mistakes you may have missed with spelling, and grammatical errors.
Utilising Free Grammar Checking and Other Electronic Software
All online software for proofreading, spelling and grammar etc. work differently. Sometimes its best testing out and seeing what suits your needs when it comes to online spell checking.
A lot of writers use Grammarly or Prowritingaid, but there other similar online grammar checkers out there.
Your eyes are the best tools to look-out for any peskie inconsistencies in your document.
Bring All of Your Chapters Together for the Final Draft
After you've done all of the above checks, simply copy and paste all of your saved chapters together for the final edit.
After all of the computerised proofreading and grammar checking, a good set of eye balls still wins when it comes to correcting and proofreading.
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