Copyright, Alex Christopher

Here are some proofreading tips to reduce the likelihood of mistakes in your writing.

You know what? Hiring a proofreader is the absolute best answer to the problem of errors in our words BUT it’s not always achievable so I’ve put together a few tips on how you can proofread your own writing. The trick is to change up the words, the text, the font or the format to something that is less familiar to what you’ve been looking at as you have been writing.

 

Just like the poster says – Read it backwards

Yes! Reading your words backwards is a great and fun way to pique your eye to possible mistakes in your writing.

See?

Writing your in mistakes possible to eye you pique to way fun and great a is backwards words your Reading. Yes!

What a way to flex the eye and our brains! This is exactly why reading your words backwards can help you see the issues in your writing. We are not on an easy, familiar romp through a sentence, but we are stumbling on each and every step, that is, stumbling on each word. Pointing to whether it’s correct or not.

This approach to proofreading is not so great at finding grammatical issues but it sure is fab at finding those irksome spelling mistakes.

 

Read it aloud

So this is a great idea to mix the awareness of your writing up from words on a screen to words experienced audibly. This really does wonders, trust me! Reading aloud makes you want to sound out every single thing on the page or screen. When we read something with our minds and eyes, we are happy enough to connect the dots if things aren’t quite right – sometimes without us even knowing. But when we voice our words to the mirror or our pets, there’s a feedback-perfection factor that comes into play. We want to hear things in their proper order. So try reading aloud next time as a way to proof your work.

 

Change the font

Well, I really wouldn’t recommend webdings, or anything too curly, but transitioning your words from your main font into something like Time New Roman, American Typewriter or Amaranth can help you see errors. The reason being is that this takes the familiarity to the text away from us and we are coerced to see our writing with a new pair of goggles. The other thing you can do is increase the font size while you’re proofreading. This also transitions the words to something new-looking on the screen.

See it with fresh eyes

Nothing decreases familiarity with a text than time. The space we give ourselves from a piece can reveal so many things, not just spelling and grammatical whoopsies. Leaving your writing well alone can allow your mind to rest about the topic altogether and that means that next time you come to reading your words, there is a crisp zeal for its content. This new found interest in your words will help you see your errors created by “previous you.”

 

Print it out

By taking your words from the screen to a piece of paper, or from paper to a tablet, or from a laptop to a smartphone, we are distancing ourselves from the original version of the text. This distancing, this anti-familiarisation with your words, allows you again the value of seeing something in a bright new light. It reveals your little oversights and you’ll be free to zone in and make those valid corrections.

Proofreading your words is an important aspect of crafting high quality writing – for your websites, your printed materials or simply a Facebook post.
Words really do reflect who you are. The cornerstone principle for proofreading your own words for those times when a proofreader is not do-able, is to disconnect, distance and de-familiarise yourself from the original version of the text. In that space you will more likely be tricked to reading your words with more intent and therefore, see the issues that need fixing up lickety-split.

 

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