Simple tips on how to better proofread your own work

Are you good at proofreading your own work?

Research has shown that most people aren’t so good at proofreading their own work. In fact, some of the best writers we know never proof their own work.

Their best works are proofed by other people.

For a few people however, they prefer doing these themselves. The basic tips in this post will enable you to proofread your own work.

Using grammar and spell checkers

Every word processor comes with its own spelling and grammar checker tools or extensions that allow you to check mistakes easily.

You don’t have to be a genius to figure how this works. As such, you shouldn’t ignore the small green underlining on typed work. You should also look out for the different spelling suggestions and recommendations. Alternatively, you can use spell checkers and grammar checkers. Although these don’t give 100% results, they should be enough to give away enough mistakes.

Read out loud

Reading out loud is one of the most valuable proofing techniques.  It’s the best technique you can use against awkward and omitted words. Hence, it’s the easiest way to detect the mistakes you missed when you were writing. The other advantage of reading out loud lies in the ability to detect sentence and phrasing mistakes that may arise.

Look up for ambiguous words

There are words you probably use to write that are ambiguous. They either distort meaning or mean something different. The best way to deal with such words is to look them up in the dictionary. Homophones are the most commonly mistaken words. Make sure you look them up to ensure they have been used correctly in context.

Refine the grammar

Not everyone is strong grammatically or with spelling. To be a good writer, this is something you have to deal with. Find a way to brush up on these skills. This means, if you have to go back to school or pick up the grammar handbook, then just do it. Having a handbook for instance, enables you to correct yourself when mistakes arise. This is a critical step when you want to become better and proofing your work.

Revisit your work later

In one sitting, it’s quite difficult for one to catch all the mistakes they make in their writing. Could be it’s the initial celebration that comes with completing work. According to experts, the best approach is stopping when you are done writing, then coming back to it later. The essence of this is to feel fresh. Doing this promotes your ability to detect the omissions you didn’t get the first time. It also makes the revision much easier.

Print it out

It’s quite difficult to proofread soft copy. This is because work that is printed is formatted in a way that is hard to detect errors. However, when the work is printed out on paper, real mistakes are easier to tell. You can avoid or correct them this way.

Let another read it

Other people can see mistakes we missed. Naturally, it’s because that’s not their work. In the end, you will be able to detect the mistakes you missed as a person and hence, deliver top notch work.

 About the author:

Sally Uresti is paper editor at Papersconsulting.com

4 Responses to Simple tips on how to better proofread your own work

  1. Shirley @save the shrink November 7, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    You’re right. Many authors would want other to check their work for proofread. I make sure that my colleagues will take a look of my academic papers for proofreads. There are those time where an author becomes so used to his writing that he can no longer see the errors! Haha!

  2. Big Pauly November 10, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Yeah, this is one of my biggest problems as well. Some good advice here, thank you.

  3. Camere Frigorifice December 5, 2012 at 4:54 am #

    Great article mate. These are some great advices.

  4. Lexi December 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Editing your own work is so hard. I’ve been a writer for quite a while now and I still struggle with it. Personally, the trick is to continuous proofreading. Like go back to the article after a day or two to see the errors more effectively.

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