Careless spelling and grammar mistakes will seriously affect the credibility of your writing. Whether you are writing a business document or a personal letter, proofreading is essential to get your text free of mistakes.
Here are a few tips to make your proofreading sessions more effective.
Concentrate on the job
Your proofreading sessions won’t yield any results if you do not concentrate on the job. Get rid of distractions. Remember that it is impossible to spot mistakes if your mind is roaming elsewhere. So turn that music down, switch off your cellphone and stay away from internet. Once you have eliminated all sources of distractions start reading the text carefully.
Print out a copy of your writing
Finding mistakes on a printed paper is easier than finding mistakes on a computer screen. Therefore, print out a copy of your writing before you start proofreading. Reading the text aloud may also help you with editing it.
Don’t trust that spell checker blindly
Although spell checkers can detect a vast majority of spelling mistakes, they are not 100% effective. Spell checkers cannot detect correctly spelled words used in the wrong context. Only the human eye can do that. They are good and you must run a spell check before sending that letter or document, but don’t depend too much on them.
Look out for homonyms
You can’t spot homonyms with a spell-checker. These are the words that have the same spelling or pronunciation. Examples are: there and their; compliment and complement. Homonyms have different meanings so their incorrect usage will seriously alter the meaning of a sentence.
Watch Out for Contractions and Apostrophes
Just like homonyms, contractions too can make your proofreading sessions difficult. Words like its and it’s, your and you’re often confuse even native speakers and writers. Watch out for them. Mistakes of this kind will seriously hamper the credibility of your text.
Check the Punctuation
Some proofreaders only concentrate on the words, but this approach is wrong. If you only look for spelling mistakes, you might fail to notice grammatical and punctuation errors.
Review the appendices also
Don’t forget to review the appendices for errors also. Consider checking any interview scripts or research documents that you have transcribed for typos as they look unprofessional and lazy.
Set your text aside for a while
Do not start proofing immediately after you have finished writing. Set your text aside for a while. This approach will help you see mistakes more easily.
Get Someone Else to Proofread It
Ask a friend or a colleague to proof read it for you. Because they do not have any connection with the text, they will be able to spot more mistakes than you.