Proofreading is an essential skill that should be used in your everyday life. Proofreading can make your writing look and sound professional, and if not done unprepared and careless, and as they say, first impressions count. Being able to proofread your own work is essential to your success as a writer.
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Whether you are writing for school or work you want your writing to be absolutely error-free so developing essential proofreading skills is very important.
From a detailed report, to a simple email, all written documents should be proofread to show your professionalism and express clarity and understanding.
If you want to improve your proofreading skills here are some simple proofreading tips you can use to make your written work look more professional. Once you master these basic proofreading skills your work will look top-notch and you won’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself with typos and syntax errors.
Learn how to touch type. If you tend to keep your eyes on your fingers hunting for the correct keys and not on your screen you are more likely to make simple mistakes. There are tons of free typing apps that can help you learn how to touch type.
You can try and test your typing speed on websites such as Ratatype. The test results will tell you how fast you typed and how many errors you made.
Keep practicing, you will quickly see improvements in both your accuracy and speed resulting in less proofreading. Just remember, typos are simple mistakes that can be avoided with better typing skills.
Also check out: 5 Free Online Typing Tools for Typists
Give it Time
Don't rush! Allow time between writing a document and proofreading a document. One of the worst things to happen is to write and send out what you believe to be a well-written document only to realize afterwards that there are a number of errors.
When you have just written something it is still fresh in your mind. This will lead you to miss common mistakes. You will end up overlooking simple typos as you have not given yourself any time to look at the document with fresh eyes.
Before proofreading a document give yourself some time. Review the document a couple of hours later or the next day. Resting your mind will help you to proofread more accurately and will enable you to spot errors quicker. This is one of the top secrets of editing. You never want to proofread immediately after finishing a document.
Read Your Document Aloud
It may sound strange to read your document out loud as you’re not a kid anymore but it actually helps to hear what you have written. Reading your document aloud will help you spot grammatical errors because you will hear them and not just see them.
Certain sentences might not sound quite right and you will know that you need to rephrase them.
It may sound silly, but reading a document out loud is one of the easiest ways to catch hidden grammatical errors. It will also help you with sentence structure.
If a sentence doesn’t sound right, proofreading gives you the opportunity to rephrase or restructure it. Being able to do this quickly and efficiently is essential to good proofreading.
Take Note of Common Mistakes
There are common mistakes we all make when we write. You may make grammar errors. You may make simple spelling mistakes. Whatever the case may be, it is useful to know what your own common mistakes are.
If you are aware of your most common mistakes, look out for them and correct them first when proofreading. You may even want to keep a record of the errors you commonly make as it will help you be more mindful of them in the future. The Grammarly app can help with this.
Use Available Tools
You don’t want to rely solely on a grammar checker or spell checker to proofread your work but they can be helpful. These tools can help to catch simple mistakes you may not even be aware of making. Best yet, if you have them turned on while you are working they can help highlight and correct your mistakes while writing.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to develop essential proofreading skills to make your work easier without the need to invest in a professional proofreader. You can proofread your own work as long as you follow the guidelines outlined in this article.
Take your time, check for your most common mistakes, read aloud if you have to and use the free proofreading tools. Your written work will quickly start to improve, look and sound professional and help you to gain new readers.
About the Author
My name is Adam Fort, I’m an education strategist at Ratatype. This project helps children and adults to learn touch typing via an online typing test and lessons. I am in charge of developing the proper typing lessons and exercise for typists who want to improve their typing speed. I also have a commercial pilot's license which I’m proud of.
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