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Five secrets of better proofreading

Posted by Matthew Stibbe
Picture of Matthew Stibbe
on 8 August 2011
Advice How to write Writing copywriter

Proofreading can be a time-consuming task. Being a good proofreader requires being thorough and accurate. Since most writers do not want to let proofreading cut into their writing time, finding a balance between speed and quality is important. 

Using the following suggestions can help you speed up your proofreading process without diminishing the quality of your efforts. So, without further adu, here are the five secrets of better proofreading:

Create a checklist

Organize your proofreading efforts by writing down all the areas you will need to cover. A checklist can cover things such as grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation. Simply check off each item on the list once you have completed it.

Do a preliminary read

Rather than diving right into the document, briefly read over it once before starting your actual proofreading. Make a note of what stands out and come back to it when you start. It will help guide your efforts so you know where to focus your energies when you proofread.

Work smart

Tackle each problem one at a time. If you try to fix everything at once, you will miss errors. Focusing on a specific area such as spelling or punctuation can actually speed up the process and enhance your proofreading skills because you will be able to pinpoint specific mistakes faster.

Allow for breaks

When you are working with longer documents, it helps to divide the time spent on proofreading into small time blocks. Attempting to carry out the proofreading process nonstop can deplete your energy and make it much harder to get the job done. Allow yourself time to take a break every 15 to 30 minutes. Working in short bursts can help you stay focused long enough to get through your document.

Perform a final check

Quick proofreading the first time through does not mark the end of the editing process. It is important to read it through a final time after you have finished the bulk of the proofreading. This is simply an insurance policy to ensure you catch any stray errors you might have missed the first time.

With these tips, you can accurately polish a document with minimal time. Knowing how to proofread quickly yet effectively will allow you to spend more of your time devoted to writing.

About the author: Randall Davidson is a cofounder of ProofreadingServices.Us, a proofreading company that offers business proofreading. Randall enjoys discussing proofreading and editing tips and best practices with other writers.

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See also: how to edit

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