Top 10 Proofreading Tips & Tricks

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Top 10 Proofreading Tips & Tricks

1. Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t expect to write without having mistakes.

2. Read your work backwards, starting with the last sentence and working your way in reverse order to the beginning. Supposedly this works better than reading through from the beginning because your brain knows what you meant to write, so you tend to skip over errors when you’re reading forwards.

3. Read your work out loud. This forces you to read each word individually and increases the odds that you’ll find a typo or syntax error. Plug your ears if you have to, to hear your words better. This tool is especially helpful in writing the correct tense and plural. (i.e., is/are, this/that, was/were, etc.)

4. Always proofread another version of your work. Copy and paste your post into a blank email so that you can “see” it in a different location.

5. Give yourself some time. If possible, let your work sit for a while before you proofread it. Put the post in an email, and come back to it later.

6. If you’re going to spot mistakes, then you need to concentrate. That means getting rid of distractions and potential interruptions. Switch off the cell phone, turn off the television or radio and stay away from the email.

7. Homonyms are words that share the same spelling or pronunciation, but have different meanings. Switching accept with except or complement with compliment could be disastrous, so pay attention to them.

8. People often mix their and they’re, its and it’s, your and you’re and so on. If there is something that can hurt the credibility of your text, it is a similar mistake. Also, remember that the apostrophe is never used to form plurals. It is not “I got all A’s and B’s.” It is “As and Bs.”

9. Watch your punctuation. Focusing on the words is good, but do not neglect the punctuation. Pay attention to capitalized words, missing or extra commas, periods used incorrectly and so on. Correct punctuation will prevent run-on sentences.

10. Stating that the value of an acquisition was $10,000 instead of $100,000 is definitely not the same thing. What about the population of China, is it 1,2 million or 1,2 billion? Make sure your numbers are correct. Also, spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.

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