by: Shannon Hames
As a help to my readers, I scoured the internet and collected tips for proofreading to help editors and students alike. Here are my best finds:
- Read it out loud and also silently.
- Use a spell checker and grammar checker as a first screening, but don’t depend on them.
- Have others read it.
- Read it slowly.
- Read it for certain types of problems, then re-read it for others. For example, your first read through might be to check for spelling errors, the second for usage errors, the third for factual errors, etc,.
- Use a screen (a blank sheet of paper to cover the material not yet proofed).
- Point with your finger to read one word at a time.
- If you are editing within Word, use the “track changes” function to make your comments visible to other reviewers
- Print it out and read it.
- Read down columns in a table, even if you’re supposed to read across the table to use the information. Columns may be easier to deal with than rows.
- Buddy proof! Give a copy of the document to another person and keep a copy yourself. Take turns reading it out loud to each other. While one of you reads, the other one follows along to catch any errors and awkward-sounding phrases. This method also works well when proofing numbers and codes.
- Double check fonts that are unusual (italic, bold, or otherwise different).
- Double check proper names.
- Closely review page numbers and other footer/header material for accuracy and correct order.
- Concentrate! Read it slowly and with purpose, like you are on a treasure hunt!