What Is the Main Action a Writer Takes When Proofreading?

What’s the important motion a author takes when proofreading?

Effectively, proofreading is easy.

That will look like a sacrilegious assertion coming from me. I’m somebody who’s spent years justifying to condescending critics that proofreading is a specialised ability.

However I’m going to indicate you the way simple it’s to assessment your writing like an expert proofreader — even for those who solely have a brief period of time to proofread.

These methods will enable you spot and proper errors in your content material that you simply’ve beforehand missed.

The distinction between proofreading and simply studying

There’s a typical false impression is that proofreading is similar exercise as studying.

Why would somebody pay an expert proofreader when anybody who is aware of learn how to learn might level out errors in an editorial?

This angle may be an impediment for freelance proofreaders on the lookout for work.

However in the end, as many proofreaders uncover, you don’t need to appeal to writers who “don’t get it.” It’s simpler to talk to those that already perceive the worth of an intensive, skilled proofreading.

It’s a lesson you may apply to any kind of digital enterprise:

Attraction to individuals who already need and perceive the worth of your services or products — the best prospects. Don’t attempt to win over people who find themselves not focused on what you do — the fallacious prospects.

One motive I really like the proofreading methods on this submit is that they’re clear examples of why the exercise of proofreading is not like simply studying.

Now, take off your author beret. It’s time to place in your proofreader fedora, so you may view your writing like somebody who has by no means seen it earlier than.

Is it vital for a author to proofread?

At any time when somebody questions the significance of proofreading, my go-to response is:

“Pubic relations is kind of completely different from public relations.”

All of us generally make a typo that omits or modifications a letter in a phrase. A typo like that’s troublesome to identify when the error continues to be an precise phrase (or phrases). It’s the apparent motive why the motion of proofreading is vital for a author.

Simply final week, I wrote “head lice” as a substitute of “headline.” Once more, two utterly various things.

However I’ve developed proofreading pointers through the years that assist me discover and proper errors earlier than they’re printed.

Stroll the road

I’ve witnessed two completely different attitudes in the case of how folks really feel about typos.

Some discover them unacceptable and a motive to cease studying a publication. Others aren’t bothered by them in any respect and don’t perceive why anybody would make an effort to forestall them.

I’m positive you’re not stunned that my outlook falls within the center between these two extremes. I stroll the road.

It’s a bit extreme to name an internet site “untrustworthy” if there’s a typo in a chunk of content material or if an creator doesn’t strictly observe grammar guidelines, however publishing your writing with various errors isn’t smart both.

It may well even result in customer support complications.

Established publications may be capable of “get away with” occasional typos. Their audiences (for essentially the most half) will probably be forgiving.

But when your web site isn’t well-known and trusted but, you need to show that you simply deal with your content material with the identical care as some of the seasoned content material editors. Your goal is to create the absolute best expertise to your readers.

Digital Commerce Companions is the company division of Copyblogger, and we specialise in delivering focused natural site visitors for rising digital companies.


3 actions skilled writers take when proofreading

Let’s get again to the primary motion a author takes when proofreading.

Do you need to study the methods I exploit on each article we publish on Copyblogger, so you should use them whenever you edit your personal writing?

Strive one of many three proofreading pointers under whenever you’re prepared to shine your writing earlier than you publish it.

Motion #1: Peek-a-boo proofreading

For this primary methodology, you’ll want an opaque object that you simply don’t thoughts holding whilst you proofread.

It might be a observe card, your cellphone, a slab of smoky quartz … no matter is useful and close to your desk. Talking of “useful,” your hand additionally works as this “object,” if nothing else feels proper.

Begin originally of your textual content and canopy the second phrase with the article so that you simply solely focus on the primary phrase within the doc.

When you be sure it’s the right phrase, surrounded by the right punctuation if any is required, shift your focus to the second phrase and canopy the third phrase with the article.

Once you’re glad with the second phrase, cowl the fourth phrase with the article, assessment the third phrase, and repeat till you attain the tip of your draft.

Blocking out the subsequent phrase in your textual content forces you to decelerate and look at your writing with a essential eye.

Names of firms, merchandise, and other people will stand out so as to fact-check them. You’ll additionally be capable of rapidly see for those who’ve unintentionally neglected a phrase, repeated a phrase, or chosen the fallacious phrase.

(Confused about correct punctuation? Try this text: Methods to Use a Comma)

Motion #2: Deep-tissue “phrase” therapeutic massage

The instrument I exploit for this methodology is a retractable pen with a spongy tip. The spongy half could make contact with my pc display with out scratching it.

You need to use an eraser on the tip of a pencil, a cotton swab, or one other delicate, pointed object.

Begin originally of your textual content and bodily underline every phrase together with your delicate, pointed object as you proofread. My pen really touches my display and presses into it as I observe every letter and phrase.

You don’t have to spend various seconds on every phrase — simply sufficient time to provide it your full consideration.

You’ll be capable of simply spot “you’re/your/you” and “their/they’re/there” errors. Specializing in every letter of a phrase additionally helps you discover for those who’ve unintentionally made a phrase plural when it’s imagined to be singular, or vice versa.

Motion #3: My all-time favourite proofreading approach, utilizing one of many suggestions above

After proofreading and enhancing an article, the assessment course of nonetheless feels a bit incomplete — errors might be hiding within the content material.

So, I seek the advice of my go-to record of proofreading pointers to provide my content material an extremely skilled polish.

You’ve (presumably) been studying your writing from the start of the textual content to the tip. However it’s time to trick your mind into taking a look at all the pieces you’ve written differently.

So, the approach I exploit as a closing step earlier than publishing is studying from the final sentence to the primary sentence.

Right here’s how a author can carry out this proofreading motion …

You’ll first dedicate a particular time frame for proofreading and decide to studying slowly.

Begin on the finish of your doc and browse the final sentence … then the second to final sentence … then the third to final sentence … and so forth, till you’ve learn the whole final paragraph.

Proceed shifting backwards via your draft this fashion till you’ve learn via your headline.

It’s simpler to identify writing mishaps whenever you view your phrases in a distinct order. And despite the fact that this session is only for proofreading, you’ll additionally usually make edits that strengthen your writing.

For instance, for those who’ve missed that you simply’ve used the phrase “good” a number of occasions, this methodology of proofreading helps you notice weaker sections of textual content. You now have the chance to refine your phrase selection.

Let’s add on.

Cease proofreading at every punctuation mark

As you assessment every sentence backwards, cease studying any time you encounter a punctuation mark to verify it’s used appropriately.

Does every interval finish a whole sentence? Is every comma, sprint, citation mark, and apostrophe used appropriately?

Punctuation marks assist information the reader via your content material, and the reader will take his easy comprehension of your writing without any consideration.

With this proofreading exercise, the phrases you learn don’t make an off-the-cuff, mild imprint in your thoughts, and also you don’t overlook punctuation marks.

As an alternative, you tattoo every punctuation mark and phrase in your mind.

Listed below are two examples:

Did you write “it’s” as a substitute of “its?”

“It’s” is a contraction of “it’s.” “Its” is a possessive type of the pronoun “it.”

Because you’re rigorously evaluating your punctuation decisions, it’ll turn out to be clear if “it’s” or “its” is appropriate.

Did you write “you’re” whenever you meant to write down “you’ve?” (I made that mistake within the first draft of this submit. Don’t inform anybody.)

The primary motion for a author when proofreading: discover errors, massive and small

Irrespective of what number of occasions you’ve already reviewed an article, proofreading with this closing approach helps you, on the very least, determine weaknesses you will have missed whereas content material enhancing.

Throughout this stage, I generally discover an overused phrase. Different occasions, I discover that a variety of sentences start with the identical phrase. Subsequent, I’ll fluctuate the language so the textual content is extra fascinating.

You’ll additionally usually discover legit errors, corresponding to:

  • The inaccurate use of an apostrophe
  • The misinterpretation of a phrase, corresponding to “beckon name” quite than “beck and name”
  • Delicate typos, corresponding to “high” as a substitute of “cease” or “in” as a substitute of “it”

Learn from the tip to the start with both of the proofreading pointers above to provide each element of your content material further particular consideration.

Your job is to verify the accuracy of the words and phrases you current to your viewers.

The posh of digital content material

After I found content material advertising, I cherished the idea however didn’t suppose it was one thing I might do.

Writing recurrently appeared like an unimaginable objective. Since I’m an editor, I assumed an unintentional writing mistake would tarnish my repute. I couldn’t danger it.

Do you see what was actually happening?

I used to be missing confidence on the time. A assured individual feels good concerning the work they’ve rigorously produced and realizes errors nonetheless generally occur anyway.

With digital content material, it’s particularly simple to make corrections and transfer on.

Current your readers with a distraction-free expertise

Proofreading is easy, but it surely requires a ability that many individuals lack.

So, what’s the important motion a author takes when proofreading?

It’s arguably working towards endurance.

If in case you have the endurance to assessment your writing slowly simply as soon as, the time you spend proofreading will probably be way more efficient than for those who rush the method however are capable of skim via your textual content a number of occasions.

Deal with proofreading as a specialised exercise, and also you’ll see the standard of your writing enhance — so your readers can focus in your content material with out distractions.


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