Proofreading is about searching your articles and documents for grammatical, spelling and typographical errors. Before submitting your work, take a few minutes to proofread it because careless grammar and spelling mistakes will easily ruin your reputation as a writer.
Before You Proofread
Before proofreading make sure that you have revised the larger aspects of your text. Proofreading will not yield the desired results if the text still needs to be developed or organized.
Do not proofread immediately after writing the text. Ideally you should set it aside for at least two hours. If you stay away from the text for a while, you will be able to spot more mistakes easily.
Know what to look for
Create a list of the mistakes you make all the time. While proofreading the text, pay careful attention to them. Use the search function of your computer to find commonly confused words. For example, many writers confuse the words its, it’s, their and there. As your spell-checker can’t find mistakes of these kinds, you need to make a conscious effort to spot them.
Many word processors now come with advanced proofreading features. They will make your job easier, but remember that a computer can’t replace a human proofreader. Before submitting your work, you must proofread it at least once. Or ask a friend or colleague to do it for you.
When You Proofread
Take a printout of the article you want to proofread. Finding mistakes on paper is easier than finding them on a computer screen.
Read out aloud
Reading aloud is better than reading silently especially when it comes to proofreading. By reading out the text aloud, you can spot mistakes like run-on sentences. Read backwards sentence by sentence. This method is highly effective in spotting sentence fragments.
Use the spell-checker
Use the spell checking feature of your word processor. Most word processors come with built-in spell checkers. They are highly effective in spotting major spelling mistakes. However, don’t trust them completely. A spell-checker merely checks whether a particular word exists in its dictionary. It cannot spot correctly spelled words used in the wrong context. For example, you may have written complement instead of compliment. Don’t expect your spell-checker to spot this mistake because both of these words are in its dictionary.