How to Proofread Your Own Writing?
If you have ever written articles, texts, research papers, etc. then you probably know that it is important to have them proofread. Obviously, it is better to have someone proofread your own work because doing it yourself is pretty challenging. The thing is that you already know the story, you know the flow of text as well as words you used in writing. So even if there are errors in the text it will be very easy for you to miss them as your mind will be filling in the blanks automatically as you skim over the text. But sometimes there is just no one out there to help and you have no choice but to proofread your own work. It is better than leaving it as it is without any review or editing. The question is how do you become a proofreader of your own work and don’t miss anything?
Proofread Like a Pro
- Since it is much more difficult to proofread your own writing, it is a must to do it in the environment where there will be no distractions or interruptions. It is especially relevant today when people are literally obsessed with social media, emails and TV.
- Read it aloud. It will help you spot your mistakes as it will sound not right. You may actually be surprised at the number of mistakes you can “hear” as opposed to those you can “see”.
- Try to forget the story. This is one of the toughest things to do since the story has become a part of you in a sense. Try to focus on each sentence looking intently into its structure, grammar and spelling of words.
- Don’t try to check spelling, punctuation and grammar at one pass. This will significantly increase the chance of you missing something. Instead, read once trying to check for spelling mistakes only. Then do one check for word usage and so on. If it happens that you see a formatting issue while checking for spelling mistakes just take a note and go back to it later when it comes to reviewing your formatting.
- If you change one or more words in a sentence make sure to read the whole sentence all over again. The reason for that is that sometimes you can make a mistake while adjusting a word without paying attention to related words or phrases.
- Almost every text has repetitive pieces of information (references, quotes, etc.). It is better to check them separately. It will keep your focus and enhance productivity.
- Make sure your mind is in the text. There will be a temptation to drift off and think about something else as your mind will be tired of reading the same thing all over again. Your job is to make sure you are actually in the text all the time. Otherwise, the whole proofreading process is at risk.
- It is useful to know your own common mistakes. The most experienced writers have their own mistakes they mechanically make every time they write something. So if there is anything specific you like messing up with, pay special attention to those things. It is very likely you have made the same mistakes again.
- Leave the formatting check for the final proofreading stage. Such things as format, spacing, text wrap, indentations and subheadings may shift during the editing of the content and, therefore, it is better if you don’t have to do the formatting check twice.
One Last Thing
Don’t rely on spell checkers. There is a temptation to copy-paste your text in one of the online spell checkers boxes, especially if you have a lengthy text to check. It saves times and nerves so at first it seems like a good solution. The problem is that there is no perfect spell checker. It is simply a machine that doesn’t understand how words relate to each other. Therefore, if you fully rely on a spell checker you may find yourself in a situation when you still have a text full of spelling mistakes. And remember that knowing how to proofread your own writing doesn’t guarantee anything, it all comes with practice.