Great proofreading is important for polished and professional writing. It can help you fix typos, spelling errors, word usage, and punctuation problems. Unfortunately, many people have a hard time finding and fixing all the errors in their work. Remember that proofreading is not the only form of editing that your text should undergo. Before doing some final proofreading, your text should have already been through major revisions for flow, focus, and organization. If this is all complete, then all that’s left is to find those small, pesky mistakes that seem to avoid your detection when you read over your work.
Here are 3 proofreading steps you can take to ensure error-free work:
1) Read your work out loud
Most people read much faster inside their heads than they do out loud. Reading out loud forces you to slow down and give a bit of extra thought to every word that your eyes pass over. This can help you catch mistakes, especially if you deliberately read even slower than you normally would.
Reading your work out loud can also help you catch awkward wording, sentence fragments, and misplaced commas. You’ll probably have an easier time catching run-on sentences as well, because if you find yourself running out of breath, then your sentence is probably too long!
2) Read your work in a different format
You can catch even more mistakes by changing the format of your text. This can include changing the font, making the text bigger, copying the text over into a different word processor, or even printing it off and reading a physical copy.
Giving your text a new look will make it more difficult for your eyes and your brain to automatically gloss over mistakes.
3) Make a list of your typical mistakes
Finally, if you’re aware of mistakes that you make on a regular basis, then keep a list of them and make sure that you check for each one before finalizing your document. Use the search function on your word processor to help with this. For example, if you know that you often misuse “its” and “it’s,” then search for every instance that you typed those words and double-check that you used them correctly.