Communication Skills

JS Tip 220: From the Writing Workshops: Proofreading

Last week, we missed a typo.

This week, we’ll talk about proofreading.

In proofreading, you must see the text through a reader’s eyes and not through a writer’s eyes. As writers, we see what we think we’ve written, not what we’ve written.

Five suggestions:

Get a buddy to proofread the document. She’s not you, so she’ll see what you’ve written and not what you think you’ve written. Explain the help you want: Content? Style? Spelling, grammar, and punctuation?

If you can’t get a buddy to proofread your document, wait twenty-four hours and proofread it yourself. Twenty-four hours will give your brain enough time to move away from the document.

Go through the document at least three times. Address content the first time, style the second time, and spelling, grammar, and punctuation the third time. (You’re wasting your time if you correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation before you settle on content.)

Use the spell checker but don’t trust it. We spell checked last week’s tip, but the spell checker didn’t catch “sort” for “short.” Gee. I wonder why.

Use the techniques that work for you. Some writers read their text aloud. Some read it backwards. Some tap each word as they read it.   

Let us know your questions and concerns. We love this stuff.