How to Proofread Your Own Writing: 11 Top Tips
Proofreading your own work is different from when you are doing it on someone’s work. With your work, you criticize yourself more, as well as your word choices. While no one wants to present a project or article with errors, accidents do happen a few minor errors slip through the cracks.
To proofread your work, you, therefore, need to do it with utmost seriousness and be willing to change your point of view.
The best tips on how to proofread your own writing
1. Proofread after thorough revision
If there is still content left to be compiled, then it is the wrong time to proofread. You need to give yourself a gap between the time you write and the time you proofread. The time can be as much or as little as you need to clear the project from your mind. Upon coming later with a clear mind, you would see things that would have otherwise gone unnoticed had you continued.
2. Use digital editing software before you proofread
To ensure your written work is error-free, it is helpful to use spelling and grammar-checking software. They help fix the little details that might have gone through the crack that the other spell-checking software might have missed, including typos and homonyms.
3. Put it on paper
Having printed copies of your work before you embark on proofreading is very important. Reading from the printed papers will help you notice mistakes that would have gone unnoticed behind a screen or on your gadgets.
4. Concentrate and take your time
Distractions should be avoided when you want to start proofreading. You can also switch off your phone and avoid your emails as a great way to minimize distractions. Ensure your seating is comfortable with adequate lighting
5. Read it out loud
The likelihood of finding typos and commas increases if you’re reading it out loud. Silent reading will only have you stressing on individuals’ words. You might therefore miss out on certain mistakes such as phrases that simply do not sound right and run-on sentences.
6. Read it backward
While going through your work in the order written, it is easier for your brain to ignore some errors as it already read what you wrote. To avoid these errors, it is good to go through your work from the bottom and work your way up sentence by sentence. This helps your brain focus on single sentences and take note of any errors.
7. Be careful about homonyms
These might be hard to detect with the help of MS word spell check, but with the help of digital editing software, it becomes easier. Some have the same pronunciation but have completely different spellings and meanings.
8. Check your punctuation
Punctuation mistakes are getting more common lately. The omission of some symbols completely changes the meaning and what was being put forward. Ensuring these are all present during proofreading minimizes the risk of your message not reaching the intended target.
9. Double-check numerical values
Cross-checking all numerical values mentioned in your work helps avoid embarrassment. You need to ensure that you did not misplace a full stop or add a zero to a certain price quoted in your document. It is those clerical errors, if left unchecked, that spoil the whole presentation.
10. Eliminate unnecessary words
While drafting and eventually compiling your content into one blanket body, you tend to put more words than are needed. We eliminate most throughout the editing process, and now that we proofread the material, it is time to remove the excess words. They were good at first; then, during proofreading, they stopped making sense.
11. Package your work
During your printing and proofreading, you might have forgotten to update the copy on your computer to omit the errors you might have found. You need to collect all your copies together and package them presentably. Then you are ready for any outcome.
For most people proofreading their own material is a daunting task as everyone believes their work is free from error. Unless you take a step back from the driving chair and look at it like a client’s job, then you might be self-sabotaging. Scrutinizing your own work requires patience and the energy of acceptance.