How to Proofread Your Own Work

Sometimes, even the most accomplished of authors makes an error. It’s vital that before your book is published, you check your work meticulously for any mistakes which could damage your reputation as a writer. Hayim Oshky explains how to proofread your own work, with the following five tips.

Note your frequent errors

We all have gaps in our knowledge – everyone has that one word they just can’t spell correctly or that one grammatical issue they can’t get to grips with. An article on Write to Done suggests that you make a list of your frequent spelling and grammar errors while you proof. This will allow you to recognise gaps in your knowledge and correct them in future.

Check facts separately

Proofing is about spotting spelling and grammar mistakes. Don’t confuse yourself by checking your facts while you proof; focusing on this issue may cause you to miss a spelling or grammar mistake. Check any facts listed in your work separately so that when the time comes for you to engage in proofing, you can singularly focus on weeding out spelling and grammar mistakes.

Be wary of spell check

Programmes such as Microsoft Word’s spell check are amazing. They spot any spelling and grammar mistakes automatically, making proofing easier than ever before. But you should be wary when using these programmes. Occasionally, spell check can miss something or worse, provide you with the wrong information. If you have any doubt, Google the issue to ensure you proof your work effectively.

Eliminate all distractions

Effective proofing requires concentration. If you play music or hold a conversation while you check your work, it will limit your ability to focus 100% on the task at hand. If you find yourself distracted, it can be all too easy to miss a spelling or grammar mistake, as they can be really hard to spot. Eliminate all distractions so you can cultivate the peaceful environment you need for proofing purposes.

Read it backwards

In Effective Writing, Claire B. May and Gordon S. May advise writers; “Read your paper backward, sentence by sentence, as a final proofreading step. This technique isolates each sentence and makes it easier to spot errors you may have overlooked in previous readings.” With this approach, you can disrupt the narrative of the text, allowing you to spot errors rather than see what you expect to see.

Compile your narrative

One spelling error or grammatical mistake can change the meaning of an entire sentence. As a budding professional writer, it’s essential that you proof your work carefully to catch these issues before your book goes to print. By adopting this approach, you can ensure that spelling and grammatical issues don’t prevent readers from understanding the narrative of your text.

Thank you for reading… Hayim Oshky.

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