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Proofreading Tips From the Proofreading Experts

It doesn’t matter whether you are writing a casual email, an important job application letter or copy for your website, producing something that is free from grammatical and spelling errors is critical.

Proofreading is time-consuming and mundane and for this reason, many people opt to use automated spell checkers. However, as we have proven on this site, many of these software programs have flaws and can miss very obvious errors. There really is no substitute for thorough proofreading, and you should never treat this part of the writing process lightly. Many people say that they don’t actually know how to proofread properly. For this reason, we have compiled a list of tips that may help you if you wish to check your own work for spelling and grammatical errors.

Proofreading requires concentration

Before starting the proofreading process you need to find somewhere quiet where you can place all of your attention on the task at hand. You cannot adequately proofread a document while sat on a bus or train, or while the television is on in the background. You need to have your attention based solely on the document you are proofreading and should try and place yourself somewhere that is free from distraction or potential interruptions.

Create a physical copy of the document you are proofreading

Professional proofreaders will always create a physical document for proofreading purposes and will often commence the editing process by making notes on this document. If you are going to proofread a piece of text yourself you shouldn’t try and do it from a computer screen. Text appears differently on screen and this can affect how your eyes see something.

Proofread by reading the document out aloud

Many proofreaders will read something out aloud to themselves when they are attempting to identify potential grammatical errors. When reading something aloud you utilize two senses; your sight and your hearing, and therefore increase your chances of identifying something in the written document that does not quite sound right. Something as simple as a misplaced comma will impact how a document is read and, when the reader poses in the wrong place as a result of seeing the comma, will instantly stand out as being incorrect.

Proofread homonyms with care

When proofreading, the most common mistakes that our copyeditors spot concern the use of homonyms. A homonym is a word that is pronounced in the same way as another word but has an entirely different meaning. Examples of homonyms are tea and tee, bear and bare, so and sew, etc. Both human proofreaders and computerized proofreaders often miss errors relating to homonyms because they are not easy to spot. However, it is crucial that you check for them thoroughly, as a misused homonym can reflect extremely badly on your ability as a writer. For this reason, you need to be extremely careful when you are proofreading and need to be prepared to invest a great deal of time and effort into thoroughly checking your document.

Pay attention to contractions and apostrophes when proofreading

Another common area in which our proofreaders identify mistakes is related to the incorrect use of apostrophes and contractions. Very often errors are made with words like you’re and your, their and they’re and-the most common one of all-it’s and its. These types of errors are quite often caused by a lack of grammatical knowledge and understanding as opposed to being the result of poor proofreading. If you are unsure of the grammatical rules underpinning the use of apostrophes and contractions then you really should consider using online proofreading services.

Proofread text by reading it backwards

One technique that professional proofreaders use is to read the document backwards; starting with the last word and finishing with the first word. Although this sounds a little odd, it really is effective in assisting you to spot errors. Again, this will take a great deal of time and effort but it will undoubtedly help you to identify errors that you may have missed when you read the text in the normal manner. One of the main reasons this works is because the human brain is trained to read things in a certain way, and will often connect words automatically, even if they are not actually there. By reading something backwards you force your brain to concentrate on each word in turn and therefore proofread what is actually on the paper as opposed to what your brain is tricked into seeing.

Enlarge the text before proofreading

Another trick that many proofreaders use is to enlarge the font of the text that they are proofreading. This makes it much easier to spot mistakes.

Proofread your document a day or two after you wrote it

It is always useful to leave some time between writing a document and proofreading it. Quite often you may have been concentrating on the text for sometime and may miss mistakes because you are too immersed in it. By extracting yourself and returning a day or two later, you will be able to proofread the document with fresh eyes and will be in a much better position to spot mistakes. If you are in a rush consider using an online proofreading service. For a low price you can submit your document and have it proofread by experts while you sleep.

Ask for someone to help you to proofread your document

Even when you have already proofread something yourself you should always look for a second set of eyes to double check your work. They will be able to read your document from afresh and-because they will not be as closely engaged with it as you are, they will be more likely to be able to identify errors. If you are not confident in your own ability to write well, asking for help will be all the more critical. If you have the resource you really should use a professional proofreader. There is no substitute for English experts who know how to spot problems and errors. Proofreading services are not the unattainable, expensive options that they used to be. You can access great proofreaders online at very affordable prices.