How to be a better proofreader
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Eliminate distracting errors
Do you proofread your writing? If you don't take that last minute look for mistakes before handing in papers, you may let some errors slip by that will affect your grade. Just depending on a computer spell-check will not be enough.
Here are some proof-reading tips from "The Office Professional," a publication for administrative assistants, secretaries and office support staff.
- Try proofreading from the bottom up. This will force you to focus on individual words rather than on meaning.
- Read your papers out loud.
Not only will you catch typographical errors by reading aloud, you will also hear incorrect or awkward phrasing.
- Never proofread anything immediately after you have written it.
Take a break after you've written something. When you come back to it, the document will look fresh and you'll be more likely to notice mistakes.
- Use your computer's spell- and grammar-check features.
Most word processing programs highlight spelling and grammar mistakes on screen. Thus, you quickly see where corrections may be needed. Be aware, however, that such programs look for incorrectly spelled words, not incorrectly used words.
- Proofread twice.
- First, read a paper through for content. Ensure that all of the information is correct.
- Once you are satisfied with the content, read through the paper again, checking spelling and grammar.
- Don't do all your proofreading on the computer screen.
Mistakes are easier to catch on paper (what some call "hard copy") than they are on computer screens.
- Develop a buddy system in which someone else proofreads everything you write.
You know what you meant to say. Thus, although your eye sees an error, it may not register in your mind. Having another person proof your papers makes it more likely that errors will be seen.
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