Thursday, February 26, 2009

Proofreading Tips Part I

Proofreading can be tricky but it is essential. We are all human and no one is perfect. Typos happen to the best of us. If your business depends on the written word, make sure you follow these ten quick and simple tips to help eliminate those pesky grammar and spelling mistakes.

The first five tips are as follows:

Read and re-read. Make sure that you read your material carefully and more than once. If necessary, print off a copy. Some people find it easier to proof if they can highlight a hard copy.

Take your time. Time is money but not when proofing. Take it slowly. If you write quickly, chances are that you will jump over thoughts and miss jotting down important words. If you must write a thought down quickly before you lose it, just remember to go back over your work later.

Speak your words aloud. Sometimes we can read silently to ourselves and fill in words that aren’t actually there. When reading aloud, this may still occur but the chances are that you will discover the skipped words.

Check your spelling. Software capabilities make it so much easier nowadays to catch spelling and grammatical errors. Utilize these functions. They lessen the burden on your own eyes. Do not depend on these tools. Software spell checkers cannot detect a misplaced or duplicated word in a sentence when it is spelled correctly.

Get a second pair of eyes. Have someone else look over your copy. It is amazing how much can be missed when you are absorbed in the material. When someone else looks at your copy for the first time, they can spot the smallest errors glaring out at them. Get a friend if you cannot hire a proofreader. For example, a second pair of eyes can find a double ‘it it’ when it should read ‘it is’.

Stay tuned for Part II.

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office
Fantasy Face Painting

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