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3 tips for effective proofreading

Bhavik Sarkhedi
13th Jun 2017
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Proofreading is the first step in the process of editing followed by copy editing and rewriting. It is therefore crucial to understand first about the differences between the three steps.

What actually is proofreading? It may be defined as the step taken by an editor when the surface errors are corrected. It mainly deals with typing errors, spelling errors, syntactical mistakes, punctuation errors, and grammatical mistakes. The meaning of the content must not be changed while proofreading and it is an essential characteristic of a good proofreader.

Image : shutterstock

Image : shutterstock

The next step after proofreading is copy editing. This is the step when a lot of changes are brought about including structural changes to the content. The content may be amended in certain ways to bring about clarity, while some parts may be expanded to make the meaning clear. This step is aimed at removing redundancy, repetition, and inconsistencies in the writings.

Once copy editing is over, the next and final step for an editor is rewriting. This is done in order to get a better flow of content without diminishing the original structure and form. This makes the content more coherent. Rewriting is all about polishing the views of the writer. It is not to change the meaning of the content entirely.

In the light of the above-mentioned steps, it is necessary to have proper knowledge about proofreading so as to edit a text or article successfully, and also to be a successful proofreader or an editor.

This article will take you through three golden rules to successful proofreading:

Hide-and-seek reading

This technique is similar to hide and seek. Start with as few words as possible. You may use your hand or something solid to cover the rest of the content, leaving out only two to three words. Make a mental note of all the possible errors related to grammar, punctuation, syntax, and spelling. Once you are done with the initial words, move on to the next few set of words.

While moving on to the next set of words, make sure you check the structure and form of the previous words and sentences. If the meaning holds, you may move ahead.

It is very common to miss out a few mistakes at one go. You may read and check it again part-by-part so as to spot any errors missed at the first go.

Hard copy versus soft copy

If you are used to the traditional method of proofreading, a hard copy is useful. If you print a hard copy with a different format from the original, it may help in correction of a few more mistakes which may have been missed during the first round of proofreading.

But with the advancement in technology, people mostly prefer soft copies nowadays. The trick is to check for errors in different formats more than once on the screen. One may use a soft end like an eraser or cotton swab to underline the errors on the screen. The direct use of fingertips makes the job much easier physically. One may use a few Online Proofreading Tools which help create fool-proof content.

Reading aloud

No matter which of the above-mentioned methods one may use, this step is of utmost necessity. Merely going through content with the eyes and marking errors may lead to overlooking of errors.

One must read aloud the content. This improves correction efficiency. It highlights errors missed in the initial rounds of proofreading. Someone else can read it aloud and the proofreader can listen for errors, which is also a very efficient way of detecting overlooked errors.

Another method to detect grammatical and spelling errors is to read the content backwards. It helps focus on individual words rather than whole sentences, which proves to be very effective.

Any form of mistakes and inadequacies in any field of work delivers the message of carelessness. This careless attitude has very stakes in companies and their reputations. A piece of content swathed with many grammatical and punctuation errors give a very negative impression to a reader. The company or the writer is never taken seriously under such circumstances. Nowadays, there are many well-known and effective proofreading services that one may employ for success of some company via content. For instance, Proofers from the UK is a very good proofreading service.

The basic proofreading steps as the ones mentioned above must be acquired by a blogger as well so that the content written appeals to many.

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Authors
Bhavik Sarkhedi
Bhavik Sarkhedi is the author of The Weak Point Dealer, and an upcoming novel 'Will You Walk A Mile?' Bohemian by nature, Rapper by Passion, Story-Teller by Soul, and a Wanderlust, he wants to explore the intersection of philosophy and psychology through words. In a nutshell, he is smartly dumb, genius moron, dynamically stubborn and occasionally an engineer. 

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