12 top proofreading tips | The TopCopy

12 top proofreading tips

road signPhoto by rileyroxx

Here are some tips for top proofreading.

1. If you wrote the copy, leave it and do something else before proofreading. Give yourself time to forget what you wrote.

2. Work from a printed document
– even if you are checking web text. It is easier to spot mistakes on hard copy rather than on-screen.

3. Use a red or green pen and where you make a mark in the text, make a corresponding mark in the margin so it is not missed when the text is amended.

4. Consciously read every single word – make every effort not to skim read. Our minds subconsciously recognise many common words and assume they are spelt correctly.

5. Use a blank sheet of paper to cover up the lines below the one you are reading. This stops you subconsciously skipping ahead of possible mistakes.

6. Make sure you read the elements that are not body text; for example headings, picture captions and the contents list.

7. Check fonts – check their consistency in headings, sub-headings, captions and body text.

8. Check spacing between elements such as paragraphs for consistency.

9. Create a style sheet – on this note any word that can be spelt more than one way, such as ‘recognise’ or ‘recognize’. Note which choice of spelling you are using so that you know the next time you come across that word. You can also use the style sheet to note other ‘standards’ such as font usage, spacing and elements such as headings.

10. Check that any cross-references are correct.

11. Notice paired elements such as speech marks and brackets – often the second element is left out.

12. Check that names of people, companies or places are spelt correctly and consistently.

Has anyone got any other proofreading tips they would like to share?

Filed under: Blog post

February 1, 2009, 3:43 pm

4 comments to “12 top proofreading tips”

    Richard Holt wrote:

    Good tips, I always assumed that ‘realize’ was a US spelling, and consequently it was wrong in the UK…


    Professional Grammar Editor wrote:

    Terrific post! Getting an outside set of eyes or a Professional grammar editor to proofread your work is the surest way to get all the misspelled words and awkward phrases corrected.

    Accurate Editor wrote:

    This is a wonderful post. My advise is not to count on MS Word spell checker or any software. Just get someone else to look at your work.

    The Topcopy wrote:

    Thanks everyone, glad you liked the post! Claire x

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