How to Improve Your Proofreading Skills

how-to-improve-your-proofreading-skills

Quite recently, I shared some tips on how to become a good writer. That post did receive some good share of response across all my social media posts. A writer apart from knowing the tactics of writing must be good at Proofreading. Before taking a leap into what is the basic process of Proofreading, let’s just understand the basic meaning of the term itself.


Proof-Reading as a whole usually involves checking the grammar errors, punctuation’s or spelling. It can take on some extensive editing too depending upon the situation and the need of the hour. To make Proofreading process easier, proofreader’s make use of some notations like – colorful ink, brackets, default symbols etc.


Usually, I have heard people getting confused between the terms ‘Editing’ and ‘Proofreading. They often ask What is the difference between Editing and Proofreading? Understanding the same, let’s just take a look at the image below that enlists some basic difference between the two terms.

editing-versus-proofreading

Even Rushang Shah states:


Writing and Editing is Art. Proofreading is Science.


Note: You can also visit the following link to better understand the difference between editing and proofreading.

 

How To Begin

Now, this is a question that has intrigued many budding writers from a long time. Let’s take a look at some easy tips to proofread an article which anyone can follow to make the process of proofreading easier:

Print and Read

This looks a costly affair but is handy when the post or the article is quite lengthy. Reading the document in this way would allow you to mark out the errors in a better way. Marking out the typos using a pen while reading will also allow you to decide if the post is actually ready for publishing or not.

Second of all, re-read the document 2-3 times as it helps in catching mistakes that might get left previously. Also, read the text line by line as it improves the overall efficiency.

Tip: Personally I would advise using a bright-colored pen to highlight the errors. It works much better than the Blue or Black ink colored pens. 🙂
Read Out Loud

The next easy method is to simply read out loud the article, blog post or anything. It indeed is tiring, but it will let you catch the mistakes  (a faulty verb ending to any word that got missing) that got overlooked while simply reading the textual content.

Tip:  The manner of reading should vary depending upon the content type that has to be dealt with. Let’s suppose if the text in context has a dialogue then it’s vital to attach different personalities to the characters to make it effective.
Using Spell Checkers

Whoever designed online Spell-checker must be getting blessings from all writers across the globe. Spellcheckers are a savior, a must know tool for proofreader’s as it allows them to easily catch and edit repetition of words, phrases etc.

It also helps to rectify common errors which our eyes fail to perceive. However, just like everything has a flip side even these spell checkers must be used with caution. It is important to understand that these are just tools designed to make our work a little easier.

These have limits and hence one must use his common sense to not commit any mistake. Another factor is that these tools often fail to recognize the context being talked about.

Example: They block words like “infinitesimal” or “compartmentalization” whenever a typo (a typing error) occurs, but contrary they also often allow such mistake like this to go through.

Tip: You can also take a look at the top 5 online proofreader tools that user can make use of to generate an error-free copy.
Before Proofreading, Improvise

Another factor that can make a big difference in the proofreading process is the way how the text looks like. One can follow these basic rules to improve the formatting style of the article:

  • Short Paragraphs: The first step is to break down the body of the text in a maximum of 3-4 lines. It not only improves readability but also helps in easy proofreading.
  • Font Size or TypeFace: This looks a small change, but makes a big difference. Depending on your convenience, choose a particular font size and a typeface. Besides, if you feel confused with the typeface, you can simply prefer Zoom feature and use it.
  • The split of Columns: Another simple strategy which one can follow is splitting the text into two columns. All those who use Microsoft Word must be knowing how to do that. However, for those who do not know, here’s the tip:
Click on Page Layout >> Under the sub-menu, click on Columns and then select Two from the options. Voila, the ruler would divide itself into two sections as shown in the image below an indication of Microsoft Word now supporting a two column layout.

division-of-text-in-two-columns-microsoft-word


Self Made Checklist

Another easy to use a method which anybody can make use of is creating a checklist of his own. In the checklist, one needs to only mention his/her repetitive mistakes. Once the list gets ready, then you just need to refer to the list to rectify the mistakes.

Verdict

The process of proofreading ain’t easy as it looks like. It takes in a lot of effort, practice, and hard work to become a good proofreader. By implementing the above said practices in your daily lives, and practicing them on a daily basis, I am sure anybody can become a good proofreader some day.

Tip: You can also take help from another post here that gives you a list of 6 ways to better proofread an article.

I hope you find both the blog posts constructive enough and make optimum use of them in the best way possible. Feedback and comments are as always welcome. 🙂

Spread the Word..!
Manu Mathur
Manu Mathur
An engineer by profession, A writer by choice. I would describe myself as a person who is trustworthy, humble, a die-hard music lover and a gadget freak !

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