Cheat sheet: we’re giving away our proofreading checklist

Proofreading checklist mistake

Proofreading. Not the most exciting job in the world, but an absolutely necessary one.

We’ve covered before what happens when you miss a typo (that’s right, the errorists win). Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier to turn out entirely perfect copy. And if you work for a marketing agency, delivering clumsy copy to a client reflects badly on both you and your copywriters.

But you’re in luck: we at Articulate Marketing are sharing our Proofreading checklist with you to make life a little easier. (Just click the link).

Why you need a proofreading checklist

Randall Davidson wrote on here about the five secrets of better proofreading, but a lot of people tend to get stuck at number one: create a checklist. He’s not the only one to put it atop the list, and with good reason. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, how can you expect to find it?

Proofreading isn’t just about spotting spelling mistakes or dodgy grammar: it’s about that final chance to make the copy shine a little brighter and the headlines punch a little harder.

What to look for as you read

Our single-page cheat sheet is divided into headings that cover different topics to focus on each time you read through your copy. (Yes, you most certainly have to read through it more than once). We also cover some basic techniques for making proofreading that little bit easier.

The following are the areas where we prioritise our proofreading:

  • Readability
  • Consistency checks
  • Words to avoid
  • Headline tips
  • Sharpen up
  • Grammar

Each topic has a subset of specific things for you to look for or eliminate so that you end up with truly outstanding copy.

And no, you can’t just rely on spellchecker…

…and this wonderful poem explains why.

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5 Responses to Cheat sheet: we’re giving away our proofreading checklist

  1. Geraldine says:

    Useful list, thanks, but it strikes me as more of a copy editing checklist than a regular proofreading one. I know there can be quite a grey area as to where the scope of one stops & the other starts, but this recommends quite a lot more intervention than is normally expected of a proofreader.

    • That’s interesting. Thanks for the feedback. Yes, there is a difference between proofreading and, I guess, subediting (which is probably closer to what we’re describing here). We’re coming from a slightly different angle to most proofreaders, though. All our staff do both writing and (sub-)editing and we look for this level of checking and intervention in the copy. We call it ‘peer editing’ and it works really well for us.

      • Geraldine says:

        That sounds an interesting approach – not so easy to implement for one woman bands like myself!

        BTW, I forgot to say earlier, I loved the YouTube clip; I hadn’t seen it before!


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    […] […]

  2. How we work: Pair writing • Articulate - 27 April 2017

    […] Mostly this is subediting – just light changes for style, concision or emphasis – along with proofreading. Sometimes, they will make broader changes to the structure or content of an article but this is […]

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