Intentionally separate "proofreading" from the "writing" and
Writing and revising focus on content, message and style; proofreading focuses on
Work with another:
It is twice as hard to detect mistakes in your own work
as in someone else's!
Get a second opinion!
A fresh set of eyes may not only find errors, but also have suggestions for
Professional editors proofread as many as ten times.
Publishing houses hire teams of readers to work in pairs, reading out loud.
And still errors occur.
Cultivate a sense of doubt
Take nothing for granted
If you know you repeat certain errors, double check for them.
Most errors in written work are made unconsciously.
These are sources of unconscious, repetitive error:
a word like "accommodate" can be checked through a spellchecker in word
Keyboarding: "form" for "from" A keyboarding error that is common and unthinkingly repeated
Usage error "which"
for "that" Word processors may locate the problem but it is left to you to decide and
The mind works far faster than the pen or keyboarding
Read out loud, word for word:
Take advantage of two senses: hearing and seeing
It is often possible to hear a mistake, such as an omitted or repeated word
that you have not seen
Read what is actually on the page, not what you think is there
This is difficult, particularly if you wrote what you are reading
Why slow down?
When you read normally, you often see only the shells of
words -- the first and last few letters, perhaps. You "fix your eyes" on the
print only three or four times per line, or less. You take in the words
between these points, and get less accurate the the more you stray from the
point. The average reader can only take in six letters accurately with one
fixation. This means you have to fix your eyes on almost every word you have
written and do it twice in longer words, in order to proofread accurately. You
have to look at the word, not slide over it.
Turn in the paper
Celebrate a job well done, with the confidence that
you have done your best.
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