Proofreading can be a funny old thing. Picture the scene: You spend hours – days, even – poring over a text, reading it through each time, and each time finding a new mistake that you didn’t spot last time. The process begins to drive you insane, and you begin to wonder if someone has been adding new mistakes each time you’ve gone through the text.
Driven to complete insanity, you accuse your flatmate of sabotaging your work, and of adding a semi-colon when you popped to the shop for milk. The next day you bang their door down and accuse them this time of adding two apostrophes when you had a shower. They insist on their innocence until eventually you get evicted for aggressive behaviour and sectioned for paranoia.
It sounds like fiction, but proofreaders have a very hard life. It’s true that, no matter how many times we go through a text, there always seems to be another mistake waiting for us. How could we miss it the first, second, or even third time around? It just wasn’t there earlier, we insist. But it was. It’s just that effective proofreading is hard to do.
You can check difference between proofreading and copyediting or different types of editing if you need. So without further ado, let’s take a look at our 5 top proofreading tips on effective proofreading.
#1 Take A Break
If you delve into proofreading straight after you’ve finished writing your paper, you’ll be well on a way to a nervous breakdown. Instead, you should give yourself a break. Treat yourself to a few days out, or even a mini vacation. In this way, you’ll be able to return with a fresh and focused mind. A tired mind is not a good mind for proofreading.
#2 Read Aloud
Reading our work aloud allows us to hear mistakes that our eyes just couldn’t spot. This is a sure fire method to ironing out niggling problems that would otherwise just remain hidden from view. As well as reading aloud to yourself, you can also invite a friend over and read to them. Or perhaps they could even read to you. Whoever has the best voice, really.
#3 Spell Check Is Your Friend
Spell check might sound like cheating, and you could argue that relying on a piece of software to proofread our work is a bit risky. But this has been one of the top proofreading tips for years and will remains. It’s not foolproof, but it will help you to avoid repeated words and poor spelling.
#4 Create a Checklist
Perhaps you don’t know where to start when it comes to effective proofreading, in which case why not make a checklist beforehand? In this way you can outline exactly what needs doing so that no stone is left unchecked.
#5 Proofread Over And Over
So, you’ve reached the end of the text and you think you’re done, had? No chance! To make sure your text is absolutely perfect, you need to read it over and over a few times. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.