Errors need to be hunted down using specific tracking techniques – those of proofreading. Let’s learn how to go on safari! Here are some good proofreading tips for you.
What Proofreading Is and Is Not
Proofreading is not “reading your paper.” Yes, you do need to be reading, revising, and editing, your writing. This is done to ensure that you are effectively expressing ideas, conveying information in an interesting manner, and creating an essay that fulfills the purpose of your assignment. That type of reading has nothing to do with the formal process known as proofreading.
Proofreading, is getting all of the little details, mostly of a technical nature, cleared out, so that your writing can be seen in its best light, without the distractions of typographical errors. Proofreading takes place after you have finished writing, revising, and editing.
Learning how to proofread can drastically improve your writing, and greatly reduce the number of errors you make while typing.
- Proofreading comes last – after you write, revise, and edit. If you are still working on wording, sentences, paragraphs, and larger aspects, you are not ready to proofread. If you can, get someone else to help you.
- Proofread a line at a time, starting from the end of the paper – not the beginning. If you start at the beginning, you will start thinking about what the paper says (distracting your brain with the story). As noted in the checklist that follows, in checking for certain errors, it is best to go through each sentence backward, one word at a time.
- Use a ruler, or blank sheet, in order to ensure that you can read only one line, or sentence, at a time.
- How to proofread? Read aloud. Read aloud. Read aloud!
- Don’t proofread right after you have finished writing. If you do, your brain will tend to read what it thinks you just wrote, not what you actually did. Take breaks during your reading.
- Allow enough time to proofread several times; if possible, let your paper sit for several days between readings. Read slowly and carefully. If you rush, you are defeating the whole purpose of proofreading.
- Keep a personal checklist of errors that you often make, so you can make a special effort to watch for them.
- Learn how to use the word processor to help you look for your more frequent mistakes. For instance, if you frequently misuse the words its and it’s, you could use the Find option to quickly search the paper for each instance in which you have used those words.
- Keep a dictionary, thesaurus, grammar book and citation manual nearby.
- Relax. Do what you can in a manner that works for you. Remember that these are proofreading tips, not hard and fast rules.
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