Proofreading is the last and ultimate step of any editing process. Proofreading focuses on exterior errors, such as spelling mistakes, grammar and punctuation errors, etc. Proofreading should be done when the manuscript is completely written and checked for additional editing modifications. The present article ‘tips on proofreading’ provides some effective tips and strategies to improve the proofreading style of any written paper.
Effective Tips on Proofreading
After working so hard to present your ideas and notions in your paper, nobody would like to make careless errors and mistakes distracting their readers from what they have to tell. Therefore, it’s really necessary to pay attention to the information and devote some time for proofreading the paper to make a lasting impression.
Following tips on proofreading enable you to search analytically for explicit kinds of errors and mistakes in your paper.
- Avoid relying completely on spell-checkers. As spell-checkers have a limited glossary, some words may show as misspelled, while in reality, these words won’t be actually present in the spell-checker glossary. Spell-checkers will not detect spelling mistakes that form another suitable word, e.g., ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’, ‘to’ instead of ‘too’, ‘there’ instead of ‘their’, etc.
- Avoid depending on grammar checkers. As grammar checkers work with a limited quantity of rules, they cannot spot every error and mistake. Grammar checkers should be limited to the use of identifying possible continued sentences or repeated use of passive voice.
- Avoid spotting and revising several things at once. Try to proofread only one type of error at a time, like checking for grammar mistakes, checking for punctuation errors, and checking for spelling mistakes, should be done individually.
- Avoid reading silently or too hurriedly as you may miss out some errors or make unaware alterations. In fact, read gradually and steadily. Read word-by-word. Reading out loud may be helpful as it compels you to say each and every word. It also allows you to listen to the words and decide whether the sentences are making sense.
- Read each sentence independently. Look out for punctuation, grammar, or spelling mistakes. Encircle every punctuation mark. This allows you to spot each punctuation mark and decide whether the punctuation is adequate.
- Try reading the paper backwards. This might be effective in checking spelling mistakes. As you read each word individually, your focus will be completely on the spelling of each word.
- Whoever said this, it is actually right, ‘Ignorance may be bliss, but it won’t make you a better proof-reader’. Often some words and phrases do not seem quite right, but we are not sure about what is wrong either. Spell-checker shows the word to be right, but we are not sure whether it is correct. Should we insert comma between two words, but we are not sure of doing that. Should we use ‘that’ or ‘which’. So, whenever similar confusions arise, it is always safe to look it up.
- Proofreading procedure becomes more proficient when you widen and practice a methodical approach. Try to identify the definite parts of your own writing that need careful consideration. Learning to have a reliable technique to find errors and mistakes will assist you to focus more on developing your ideas while preparing the paper.
You most likely already employ some of the tips and strategies discussed above. Try out different procedures and strategies until you find a method that works best for you. Tips on proofreading will help you and guide you to make the proofreading procedure efficient and purposeful. By following the strategies provided in ‘tips on proofreading’, you can learn to check as many errors and mistakes as possible in the smallest amount of time.