Hello my fellow Bookworms and page turners,
Now I dont know if you are a little like me, but something I really struggle with is getting things righgt, first time all the time. Therefore proof reading is something I am striving to improve in, so that atleast I can get it right the second or maybe third time!
Now I have looked online, spoken to some actual proof readers and read a book on the topic, now I am by no means an expert as I have already stated but it seems to me that Proof Reading can be broken down in to 8 seperate sections
- Check your Spelling
- Check Common Mis-spellings & typos
- Check your Grammar
- Check your Punctuation
- Check your Titles & Fonts
- Check your Figures (if applicable)
- Check the frequency of words used
- Take a Break!
Check your spelling
This might seem like such an obvious tip that there’s no need to include it, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget to run your spell-checker at the end of a huge project. Made a few last-minute edits to your text? Run spell-check again! You can often introduce mistakes when you’re working quickly to meet a deadline.
Pro-tip: By default, Microsoft Word’s spell-checker will ignore words written in uppercase. This can be a benefit but if you’re writing headers in all-caps, mistakes might be missed. To change this, go to the “Options” menu and within the “Proofing” section un-tick the “Ignore words in UPPERCASE” box.
Check common mis-spellings & Typo’s
Spell-checking software is a great tool, but it isn’t infallible. Check your work for common mis-spellings that won’t be spotted by a machine. Some examples might include “Manger” instead of “Manager”, “goof” instead of “good” and “bored” instead of “board”.
Check your grammar
Again, this tip seems very obvious, but this is another task that’s easy to skip. When you’re running your spelling and grammar checker, don’t ignore the mistakes it raises. Clear grammar makes it easier for your readers to understand your text and focus on its content.
An automated grammar-checker is also a very useful tool for writers, but it doesn’t replace good old-fashioned proofreading and knowledge of grammar. Make sure you familiarise yourself with common grammatical errors (e.g. “your vs. you’re”, “its” vs. it’s” and “less” vs. “fewer”) and give your work a thorough check.
Pro-tip: Microsoft Word has a handy feature that allows you to see a readability report about your text. This report shows you the number of “Sentences per Paragraph”, “Words per Sentence”, the “Flesch Reading Ease” grade and much more! To turn this on, go to the “Options” menu and within the “Proofing” section tick the “Show readability statistics” option.
Check your punctuation
Inconsistent or incorrect punctuation can make it difficult for your tutor to understand your work. Always make sure that you use punctuation correctly, and that you use the same style throughout your work, e.g. if you decide to use double spaces after a full-stop, make sure you do it consistently.
Check your Fonts & Titles
When you’re quoting texts from other sources, it’s important that you remove the original formatting so that your final document is consistent and clear. If you’re in doubt, use the “Format Painter” tool!
The title of your document is the first thing that your tutor will read, and it’s also one of the easiest things to miss when you’re proofreading. Make sure you pay particular attention to your titles and headers to reduce your chances of missing a simple mistake.
Check your Figures
Facts and figures sound impressive in an assignment, and provide excellent support for an argument. However, incorrect figures can quickly destroy your credibility and ruin a conclusion. Double- and triple-check your numbers to make sure 50 hasn’t actually become 500, and that your percentages all add up to 100!
Check the frequency of words
When you’re writing an in-depth article about one topic, your text can often accidentally become repetitive. To reduce this, use your word processor to search for key words or phrases to check that you aren’t repeating them too often.
Take a break
Proofreading your work too soon after you finish writing often results in mistakes being missed. If you can, take a break of at least a day before proofreading your work to ensure that you’re looking at your text with fresh eyes.
I hope this short breakdown of my findings helps you all out even a little bit, its certainly a 8 check method that I will be using moving forward on all of my reviews and bits and peices that I do for work.
Until next time, read more books