Lesson 5: How to Proofread
- To enumerate different techniques used in proofreading
- To explain the different techniques mentioned throughout the lesson
Quick Navigation through the Lesson 5:
In this lesson, we’ll be tackling different techniques that you can employ to make proofreading easier and more effective. To help you achieve your proofreading goals more easily we’ll be enumerating concrete methods that you can put into action immediately, whatever the project you’re dealing with.
These are outlined below:
Despite the fact that digital copies are becoming the norm and while this might make for easier revision, it is still advisable to print out a hard copy. This allows you to read the work thoroughly because it eliminates the glare from the screen—simultaneously allowing you to read more parts of the work at a time. Furthermore, printing out the work allows you to write thoughts and suggestions down in the margins as well as allows you to utilize the proofreader’s marks that we discussed earlier in the class; these marks are short, concise and help you cover more ground within an allotted time period.
Read It Aloud
There are some cases where a sentence might look right on paper, but won’t sound quite right when read aloud. This tip helps you eliminate awkward sentences and parts of the body of text which could be better phrased. It also helps you spot errors caused by the writer’s inflection—things that are so subtle you may not be able to pick up on them at first. This will allow you to give suggestions and comments that make the work easier to understand.
You can do this by putting a ruler or a blank sheet of paper under the line you’re reading to help you concentrate. This also helps you get through the entire work without missing anything—a lot of the time we can skip over lines because our eyes drift toward the rest of the page. Doing this minimizes the errors that you’re able to glaze over and allows you to become an effective proofreader.
Know What to Look For
Always keep context in mind—remind yourself about the nature of the work you’re proofreading: is this a newspaper article? What are the objectives of the project at hand? These things help you determine which errors to look out for. If you’re proofreading a thesis or an academic paper, then you’ll know to watch out for discredited facts, unrelated information and superfluous topics—if you’re proofreading an ad or a product description, you’ll know to watch out for claims which may not be realistic or which don’t do the goods any justice. This helps you suit the content to the context.
Work From General to Specific
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the grammar, punctuation and spelling, give the work a once over. Think about the arrangement and the general ideas that are contained within your work. This keeps you from doing redundant things or from going around in loops—for example, if you ask the writer to change the tense of a certain word only to have that section moved to another part of the text which changes what it means, then the entire cycle becomes repetitive and inefficient. Addressing wider content issues first helps you and the writer get the most possible amounts of work done in the time frame provided.
In this lesson, we were able to look at a few tips and tricks for proofreading. We were able to discuss each one and provide reasons as to how it’s able to make you a better proofreader. We were also able to point out how each one allows you to avoid a certain proofreading pitfall.
Up next we’ll be discussing copyediting and different techniques that’ll help you out with this endeavor. As with this lesson, we’ll be discussing all these tips in detail so as to provide you with the best knowledge about how to become a great copyeditor.