Proofreading is an inherent part of me. Whenever I write something, I have to proofread it. It’s a habit, and since I am a creature of habit, proofreading is a given.
That doesn’t mean that I find it an easy task, though, and it may be the same for some of you.
For one, it is a well-known fact that going over your own work with the intent of finding mistakes does not always yield good results. You’re biased. Your eyes tend to gloss over mistakes. Typos – misspellings, misplaced punctuation marks, etc. – can easily be overlooked.
On Bad Writing, Bad Proofreading and Responsibility
Your eyes’ condition may be another factor. What can you expect if you’ve been looking at the computer screen for hours working on that article? Of course your eyes are tired! Of course, you can make mistakes while proofreading.
How can we make proofreading an easier task?
Here are two simple things to do.
1. Take a break before proofreading.
Sure, there’s no stopping that first immediate proofreading if you are compelled to do that, but why not leave your work untouched for 15 or so minutes while you take a break? If it’s late, and you’re not under pressure, you can even leave it overnight and proofread in the morning. A fresh set of eyes – your own – will work better.
2. Change your font.
We all have our preferred fonts. Some of our clients may have their required fonts. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about changing your font solely for the purpose of proofreading. Some fonts are more readable than others, and if you use a highly readable font when proofreading, your task becomes easier. Additionally, any change in font will actually make it easier for you to spot mistakes as what you see on the screen is different from what you saw the whole time you wrote.
We all know that Comic Sans, as hated as it is by many (I’m a lover, so read this), is one of the most readable fonts. Other fonts which are good for online reading Georgia, Verdana, and Arial.
One last thing: go up one or two font sizes for proofreading.
What are your tricks to make proofreading easier?
i am lavanya. writing job willl be but what will oing tht and when help.
Thanks forthis I have issues with commas, thanks to being taught at school that you put a comma where you’d take a breath if you were reading it out loud, and semi colons which we never covered at all. I do separate runs of find and replace for them plus the usual read it out loud. I’m going to try changing the font though – anything that helps is good!
Noemi Tasarra-Twigg says
You’re welcome! I hope changing the font works for you.
Fran Souza says
A phrase or a clause within a sentence should be separated with a comma. And when LISTING immediately follows, use a colon. Otherwise, use the semi-colon.
I know you’re told to check out this book, or that book for the rules! But forget that. Use a kid’s English writing skills book. They’re so fast, easy and simple to understand. It covers all the basics of grammar and punctuation that you’ll need.