Current works and upcoming books by Dana Littlejohn
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Thursday Tips: Proofreading
Welcome back to another week of Thursday tips to help you become a better writing. I want you to know I do this blog not only for but for me too. As I share with you I learn and apply them to my own writing. So we are essentially helping each other. This week I found a few tips to help with proofreading.
Be sure to conduct a thorough proofread of all documents before handing them over to someone else to edit. But before you proof, you must self edit.There’s no use expending time and effort to check for minor typographical errors until the editing stage is complete. Review for proper organization, appropriate tone, grammar, syntax, usage, and style before moving on to the proofreading stage.
1. Use a Checklist Create a list of important things to check for, such as problem areas like agreement of nouns and verbs and of pronouns and antecedents, and number style.
2. Fact-Check Double-check, re-check and then check your facts again. Make sure your facts, figures, and proper names are in order.
3. Spell-Check Before proofreading a printout, spell-check the electronic version not only to find misspellings, but errors that are frequently missed like omitting a closing parenthesis or quotation mark and putting period where there should be a question mark.
4. Read Aloud Reading text during the proof stage improves your chances of noticing errors, especially missing (“he kissed her cheek and smiled”) or repeated (“he kissed her cheek and smiled”) words.
5. Focus on One Line at a Time When proofing print documents, use another piece of paper or a ruler to cover the text following the line you are proofreading, shifting the paper down as you go along. This technique helps you keep your place and discourages you from reading too quickly and missing subtle errors.
6. Attend to Format Proofreading isn’t just about reviewing the text. Make sure that the document design adheres to established specifications. Check page numbering, column alignment, relative fonts, sizes, and other features of standard elements such as headlines, subheadings, captions, and footnotes. Inspect each type of feature within categories, such as looking at every headline, then every caption, and so on.
7. Proof Again Insert revisions on the electronic version, then print off and proofread the document again with the same thoroughness, rather than simply spot-checking the changes. An insertion or deletion may have thrown off the line count, for example.