In the hectic world of copywriting, proofreading mistakes are rife. Copywriters often have fast deadlines to meet, which means that the proofreading bit is either skimmed over really quickly – or even ignored altogether. This leads to copy that is littered with proofreading mistakes, which therefore leads to poor conversions and – worse still – low traffic. But when we’re writing papers – professional papers, academic papers and so on – we have a bit more time on our hands. This means not only can we take the time needed to write an awesome piece, but it also means that we can take the time to proofread our paper so that it’s absolutely tip top and free of errors.
Yet proofreading mistakes STILL creep into our work. It seems that no matter how much time and energy we devote to proofreading our paper, we’re still making mistakes. Perhaps this is because we’re going about things the wrong way. Perhaps it’s because we haven’t truly taken the time to figure out how to properly proofread a paper.
For this reason, we’ve created a list of the top 5 proofreading mistakes to avoid in your paper. Let’s take a look.
#1 Avoid Familiarity With Your Work
Ever heard the phrase, ‘familiarity breeds contempt?’ In our case, familiarity breeds mistakes. Essentially, when we’re proofreading our work, we don’t see as many mistakes as we should. This is because we’re not expecting to see mistakes.
For example, because you’re so attuned to your content and the way you write, you could have misspelled ‘engaging’ as ‘engagin’ but because you’re so familiar with your work, your brain will see it correctly spelled as ‘engaging’ – because it’s expecting to see that!
The only way to truly resolve this issue is take your time when proofreading – and read your work over again and again.
#2 Don’t Trust Your Spell Check To Do Everything
Spell check is pretty cool for spotting misspelled words, but if you think this is the be-all and end-all of proofreading, you’ve got problems. For example, spell check will tell you that ‘foot’ is correctly spelled, but what it won’t tell you is that you’ve used it in the wrong context. For example, like this: “My argument is centred foot the idea that biology is fundamental …’
As well as spell check, you will need to meticulously go through every last sentence of your work to make sure words aren’t misplaced.
#3 Assuming Without Knowing
One of the fundamental proofreading mistakes we can make is to assume something is correct despite us knowing full well that we’re not exactly sure. For example, it might be that you’ve written ‘its’ when it really should be ‘it’s’. But you’re not sure which is right and instead of finding out, you leave it in there. To help, you can use an online writing editor or copy editing services.
#4 Not Spotting Repetition
Creative writers are really good at mixing up their language so that they don’t keep using the same words over and over. As Erika points out in her blog on the top ten copyediting mistakes sometimes as writers we’re guilty of overusing the same words. Instead, we should be more creative with how we use our language.
#5 Doing Everything Manually
One of the problems with correcting our grammar is that sometimes we don’t know what’s right or what’s wrong. As good a writer we may be, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we know grammar inside out. Even the world’s greatest novelists, including Tolstoy, had editors.
Instead of suffering in silence, trying desperately to fix subject-verb agreements, hyphenating compound modifiers without even realising, and so on, you can use an online writing editor that provides accurate grammar checks to help you free your work from errors.