Catch your own mistakes
Need some help in the proofreading department? Having another set of eyes is great. Sometimes that isn’t an option, though.
1. End to beginning
Read from the bottom of the article or essay to the top – end to beginning. This helps your eyes and brain see what is actually there (on the computer screen or on the paper), rather than what you “know” is supposed to be there.
2. Get Vocal
Read your work out loud. Sometimes you can catch your mistakes if you simply mouth the words, but it always helps to say them. You will be surprised how many mistakes you find.
Pay particular attention to homophones – their, there, and they’re is a killer. Know which one you mean, and use it correctly.
4. It isn’t all about spell check
Run spell check, but don’t bet the farm on it. Spell check will help you, but it only checks the words that are there. It doesn’t check for meaning. If you type “form” instead of “from”, spell check won’t help you.
5. Give yourself some space
If you are typing on the computer, set your spacing to double or more. This keeps the words from closing in on one another and gives your eyes an opportunity to focus. Also, Verdana is supposed to be the font that is the easiest for us to read on a computer screen. If you are writing by hand, skip several lines between each line of writing.
A few bonus tips for proofreading
Look for contractions – make sure these are used correctly. If you are writing an academic or formal essay, eliminate these.
Check your comma usage. Review some of the common comma usage errors, such as missing commas before a coordinating conjunction (and, or, but, for, so, nor, yet) that cause run-on sentences.
What are your proofreading strategies?
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