What is Proofreading?
Whether written by a scholar, student, or writer, a written piece goes through several stages before it is ready to be published or handed over to somebody. The last step in this process is proofreading. It mainly involves rereading and checking errors in the text. They can be minor spelling and punctuation errors or grammatical mistakes. It is essentially part of the editing process. Editing text means changing content, adding or removing information, making structural changes, as well as finding and correcting punctuation mistakes, typos, etc.
Text can be in the form of an academic paper, book, CV, article, etc. It is necessary to proofread the text before submitting it. It makes the text more accessible, improves the flow, and as a result, increases readability. Proofreading plays a vital role in success. It also shows that author is a responsible person.
Proofreading tips and techniques
Let’s look at some tips to proofread the text with the maximum effect:
- Proofread the text only after you think it is the final draft, and there won’t be significant structural changes because correcting mistakes in a sentence and then removing that sentence altogether is a waste of time.
- It can be frustrating to finish, edit and directly proofread the text considering the amount of time one spends writing the piece. Therefore, it is generally recommended to take a break after finishing the text or editing it. It can be a short break or even a day, depending on the deadline you have to meet. In all cases, a break helps to look at the text with a clear mind.
- You may unwillingly want to change the content in the text while proofreading, even if the text doesn’t require a change. The best strategy to avoid this is rereading the text backward. It is especially helpful in correcting spelling mistakes.
- Print the text and do proofreading on the paper if staring at the computer screen for a long time hurts your eyes.
- Reading the text aloud is another effective option that allows focusing on mistakes that aren’t generally caught by simple reading.
- Pay attention to the names of people and companies as they should be the same as they are originally written and, in most cases, shouldn’t be changed to fit the language you are writing in.
- Be careful with words that are written using apostrophes. The common mistakes include, for instance, writing its, their instead of it’s, they’re.
- Proofreading the text more than once may also yield positive results.
Proofreading tools and professional proofreaders
Writers can proofread the text by themselves, utilize online tools, or hire professional proofreaders if the text is too important to rely on machinery. Although software can be beneficial in finding and correcting simple mistakes, it cannot replace the human factor when it comes to proofreading texts that contain complex structure and grammar. Tools such as Grammarly, Hemingway, ProWritingAid offer editing and proofreading services that include spell-checking, punctuation-checking, and basic grammar-checking, but the advanced features come with premium subscriptions. All in all, they are useful for everyday tasks that don’t demand too strict proofreading.