Proofreading is an essential practice when it comes to writing. It’s that final check to make sure spelling and grammar are correct because misspelled and misused words can destroy the quality of your work. Even the best writers need to edit and proofread.
Often, when we proofread our own work, the mind does not catch the little mistakes because it was that same mind that wrote them in the first place. This is why it is important to find a second party to read your writing. However, not all of us have proofreaders on hand, which is why we must learn how to properly proofread ourselves. If you want to learn how to proofread, here are the top 5 proofing mistakes to avoid …
1) Relying on Spell Check
Nothing is 100% perfect, and this applies to writing software as well! Spell check is great at locating misspelled words, but it does not catch words that are spelled correctly, but accidentally used. For instance, if you mean to write “friend”, but type “fiend” instead, spell-check will not notify you of this mistake. For all it knows, you meant to use “fiend”.
Also, spell check is terrible at correcting commonly confused words. Homophones are words that have the same pronunciation, but are spelled differently. A few examples are ant/aunt, bear/bare and are/our. Though these are quite common mistakes, spell checker has difficulty detecting these because the words are spelled correctly, but used in the wrong context. MORE: 10 Common Errors In Your Writing You Need To Fix Right Now
2) Proofreading Immediately
Once you are finished writing a text, it can be tempting to proofread right away. A desperate need to complete a project can ruin the important proofreading process. Your minds play tricks on you by skipping over words that are wrong because it reads it as right. To overcome this problem, you need to step away from a piece of work. Give yourself some time away from the computer and come back when you are less familiar with what you just wrote. Your brain will read it as something new and you are more likely to catch the mistakes.
3) Forgetting Grammar
When your focus is entirely on spelling mistakes, you may miss common grammatical errors. There is a constant struggle of knowing when to use I or me and who or whom. Other examples include your/you’re, their/they’re and it/it’s. Of course, confusing who and whom is not as embarrassing as misusing your and you’re, but learning about using the correct words in all situations is still important. MORE: 5 Killer Grammar And Punctuation Errors – And Ways You Can Fix Them!
4) Not Reading Out Loud
One of the best proofreading tips is to read the content out loud. If you scan your writing without speaking, you will neglect to hear how it actually sounds. As we read, a little voice in our head narrates what is written. To obtain a better understanding of what another person will hear as they read your writing, you must read it out loud yourself. This will give you a feel of the rhythm and pace of words, which will help you polish the flow.
5) Editing AFTER Proofreading!
These are separate practices and should remain that way. Proofreading is a final check, whereas editing is a complete overhaul. Often, the editing process involves adding new sentences or restructuring current ones. With all of these changes, you are still writing and could potentially make additional spelling and grammar mistakes. Therefore, proofreading must be the absolute last thing you do. If you edit after proofreading, you are basically undoing all of the corrections you have already done. MORE: 3 Killer Typos That Blow Writers Out Of The Water
The more you write, the better your writing will be. This is also the case with proofreading. As you proofread more, you will learn about the common mistakes you make yourself, and will be less likely to make them again the next time you write. The worst thing you can do is rush through the proofreading process. If you take the time and read over your work more than once, you will be much happier with the results, plus your readers will be too.
BIO: Piers Golden is a freelance blogger has been writing professionally since 2013. Connect with him on Facebook, HERE.