Monday, October 14, 2019

The Essential Proofreading and Editing Guide

What's the Difference Between Proofreading and Editing? 

It doesn't matter what kind of writer you are, proofreading and editing are a key part of the process.  If you're not already familiar with these terms, both are used to improve grammar and punctuation, before work is sent to be published.

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We're going to make clear the difference between editing, proofreading, and how to work with the text in the points below.

What is Editing?

Copyediting as it is called includes the improvement of text composition, spelling and punctuation, and style. 



This calls for the editor to have a thorough understanding of the subject, final text format, and writing
requirements needed for the topic. 

The editing process requires the following:

  • Reduce the text to the required size (without impacting the paper contents)
  • Improving the paper composition, structure, erasing stylistic, logical, and other types of errors
  • Do a partial rewrite if necessary, this is a change to be made in order to improve paragraphs and sentences, and often necessary to add any missing information, or delete duplicate text, and even restructure paragraphs.
An editor has to delve deeply into the text, unlike a proofreader.  Editors are required to understand the content, dissect the feelings and thoughts of the author, all in an effort to fix the types of errors connected to the paper's contents. 

During the editing process the editor has to:
  • Delete and check for stylistic errors in the text
  • Verify the accuracy of information, and suitability of the terms used
  • Remove logical errors in the text, and if necessary divide the content into semantic blocks, sections, and subsections
  • Take out unnecessary words and expressions
  • Enhance constructs and wording without messing with the original work 


What is Proofreading?

Proofreading suggests working on the foundation of a piece, this includes deleting grammatical and punctuation errors, and typos.  Reviewing the technical side, and appeal of the text.

The proofreading process requires the following:

  • Make sure paper is compliant with requirements and instructions
  • Amending incorrect abbreviations, notation and other features of the paper as proof
  • Document assembly check (tables, introduction, etc.)
  • Making sure that end manuscript is consistent and accurate in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting
Proofreading is all about making sure the end result is error free.


How to Edit and Proofread Like a Pro


No matter what kind of content you're creating editing and proofreading are an essential part of the process. It doesn't matter if its an e-book or email, all of the content you write should be read thoroughly, and checked for mistakes.
Producing content full of grammar, spelling and punctuation errors shows that you're not paying attention to the finer details, and this could go against you when it comes to gaining new blog readers.

Annoying your readers with simple errors is the last thing you should be doing.  Which is why all of your content should be polished to perfection.  If your job is a freelance writer, producing top quality text should be your main priority.

What does it take to be a highly effective proofreader?

We're going to cover some of the most useful points in proofreading and editing to help you create content that stands-out from the crowd.



Keep Your Style Consistent


If you're writing long manuscripts for books, or long essays, you need to stick to the same rules throughout the text.  This means you can't switch between British English and American English.

The important thing to remember is that you apply the same rules throughout all of your writing, this includes apostrophes, hyphens, capital letters, names, etc.  

Let Your Creative Juices Flow With the First Draft

The writing process can be divided up into three simple stages, draft, editing, proofreading.  For your first draft forget all the rules and just write.

Abandon all thoughts of grammar and punctuation and just let your brain reveal its full potential.  Jump into the topic and write your heart out.

When you've finished your draft, give yourself a break and start applying the following proofreading and editing tips:

Get Your Facts Straight

After you've taken a break, look through your text and check that all of your facts are accurate.  Ensure that all names, addresses, numbers, locations, dates are in order.  If in doubt use a second source.

Your reliability as an author and writer could be destroyed through factual errors in the text.  So make sure all of your facts are straight before you go on to the next stage of the proofreading and editing process.




 

Mistakes Are Never Alone

If you find a mistake in your writing, for example "there" instead of "their", use "Ctrl + F " to find the words and replace them with the correct spelling.

Make a List of Your Most Common Mistakes

If you're struggling with the same grammar and spelling errors over and over again create an error list.  This is handy, especially when you repeat the same error. 

Sleep On It

After finishing your draft don't send it or publish it yet.

Give your mind and body a rest, sleep on it, and look at it again with fresh eyes the next day.  You may discover errors you missed, or new ideas you want to add.

Use a Different Font

Sometimes you can miss things that are right in front of you.  Tray changing the font and see if things become any clearer.

Apply Caps Lock

Use a tool such as ConvertCase and copy and paste your text into it, this will allow you to change your letters to uppercase.

This strange trick lets your brain see the words from a different perspective.  Giving you a more efficient editing and proofreading process.

Print a Hard Copy

Reading words on paper is entirely different to reading them on a screen, this old school method will help reset the comprehension process.  Usecoloured pens (red is best) for marking your errors.

Ask a Friend

If you're tired of reading your own writing, ask a friend or family member to read through your work.  Get their honest opinion if you're brave enough.

This could backfire and affect your writing, or even knock your confidence.  On the other hand they could say "It's great" when it's not.

Find a Like-Minded Editor

Not unlike the previous point, this would be someone you know that is a writer like yourself, and would be willing to go through your work.  Giving you their honest opinion.

This is great for experience, and will help your writing no end. 

Read It Out Loud to Yourself

Read the text out clearly and slowly to yourself out loud, like there's someone else in the room with you.  Use the punctuation points of your text  to hear how the text feels, and find out which sentences need improvement. 

Any missing words, grammar, or punctuation mistakes will be heard, and easy to spot!

No Distractions

The editing and proofreading process requires your total concentration, which requires a calm and quiet environment.

Multi-tasking is a no-go during the process.

Read, Read, Read


Read as much as you can, when you can, this will help enrich your language skills, and expand your vocabulary.

You'll start noticing subtle differences in sentences, grammar and punctuation, which is critical when you're creating engaging content.

Try Editing and Proofreading With Google Docs

On the outside Google Docs looks like any normal text editor, but what it can do for your writing is invaluable.

Because it's connected to your Google account it gives you access to all of your devices.  Allowing you to share your work with other like-minded collaborators, and clients. 

With access to the internet you can synchronise all of your devices so that it can make offline changes.

Scan the Document Starting at the End


Another quirky trick is to proofread the document starting at the end, reading line by line backwards.  You'll probably find one or two stray words or grammar mistakes you left out.


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