There’s nothing worse than submitting an essay you’ve spent weeks working on, only to find that it’s full of typos, misspellings and grammatical errors. Proofreading ensures clarity and consistency in preferred spellings, capitalization, hyphenation, use of acronyms and abbreviations, references and cross-references, and use of lists and other elements. It also involves adjusting the layout, spacing, colour, graphic elements and images in final the document. The process is tedious but necessary, especially if you’re looking to add that extra polish and quality to your writing
Here are 5 ways to improve your proofreading skills:
Give your draft some space
The temptation is always to launch straight into proofreading after completing a piece of writing. Patience is key. Rest your oversaturated brain and review your work the following day with a fresh eye. As the author, your brain will read the writing in the correct way and your eyes may skip over main errors if you rush the proofreading process.
Use Text-to-Speech (TTS)
Print it and read it
Technology may be efficient but it may not always be sufficient. If you’ve been working on your computer for long hours and staring at the same screen all day, chances are you will miss some mistakes. Editing from a printed copy may be less strenuous on the eyes and will make it easier to spot typographical errors. Also, use this method to check the format and layout of the document as well as the sequentiality of the pages.
Backwards copy your read
Another way to improve your proofreading skills is to read the content backwards, from right to left, starting from the last word of your composition. Starting at the last word of your document, work your way to the beginning, one word at a time. This is a great way to spot misspellings and repetitions by focusing on the words rather than the sentences. Now read that subheading again.
Break it down (the process)
If you attempt to do all your proofreading in one sitting, your focus may start to wane at some point. Break down the process into several blocks of your time with short breaks to refresh your eyes. Take a walk outside, get a drink of water, or try meditating for a few minutes to reset your mind and come back to it anew.