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Five Tips To Improve Proofreading Your Writing

Updated on March 27, 2013

Sometimes with 'The New Yorker,' they have grammar rules that just don't feel right in my mouth.
David Sedaris

DO YOU MAKE MISTAKES?

Yes, I am being facetious. Of course you make mistakes in your writing. Everyone does and that is why the process of editing is so important. If we did not edit and police our work I shudder to think of what our finished product might look like.

I don’t know about you, but often times I will re-read my articles and still miss mistakes that I have made. I have been known to re-read four and five times and completely skim over a very obvious boo-boo. I would not be shocked to find out that there is an error somewhere in this article. There is a very simple reason why that happens. Our minds are pre-programmed because we were the ones who wrote the material. Once we have written our article, the words are arranged in order in our brains, so that when we re-read it we see what we believe we wrote. It is a common mistake in proofreading and that is why I have tossed together a few ideas that might help you proofread with a little more accuracy.

Below, then, are five suggestions that will help you eliminate editing mistakes. Try one, try three or try them all, but I am convinced that if you do try them you will publish an error-free article.

DELAY READING

Remember what I said earlier: Once you write something, the words you wrote are programmed in your brain. In order to gain a fresh perspective of your work, set it aside once you have finished it, and don’t proofread it for a day. Let it sit and gather some dust for 24 hours before doing your editing. I think you will be surprised by what you find.

This is, in effect, a way to de-program your brain. Is that even a word? Well, for this article it is! By taking some time off you will allow your brain to forget what you wrote, thus giving you a better perspective once it comes time to edit.

READING ALOUD

I learned this one back in the 60’s believe it or not and it has never failed me. There is something about hearing your work that allows you to spot your mistakes easier. For one thing it helps you to hear the cadence of your words as a reader would “hear” it, and awkward phrasing becomes apparent when the words are read aloud. Try it once and I promise you will use it again for every article you write in the future.

READING BACKWARDS

This technique is a bit time-consuming but it works. Start at the end of your article and read the sentences in reverse order. This will allow you to see a sentence as it stands alone and not as it relates to the rest of the article.

Again, the mind is pre-programmed to see the sentences in a particular order, and the purpose of this proofreading trick is to shake up that order and be able to look at each sentence objectively. Try it on this paragraph and see what I’m talking about.

WATCH FOR SPELL-CHECK GREMLINS

I shouldn’t have to tell you this but I will nonetheless. Spell check on a computer is not infallible. The computer cannot tell the difference between their, there and they’re. Weak and week are both spelled correctly but have different meanings, and in certain sentences either might be correct according to the spell-check program.

In addition, some sentence structure may be awkward at best, and your grammar program will not catch it.

Bottom line: Do not get lazy and expect your computer program to make you a better writer. It will not happen. Trust not a machine for they have no conscience! I just made that up. How do you like it?

Are these suggestions helpful?

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HAVE A FRIEND READ YOUR WORK

When all else fails enlist the help of a friend or relative to proofread your work. My wife Bev is my proofreader, and she oftentimes can point out a sentence or paragraph that is ambiguous and does not say what I intended to say. In fact, on articles that I consider very important, I will read them out loud to her and then have her read them by herself. If something you have written is important to you, then don’t you think you should do everything possible to guarantee that all mistakes have been caught and corrected?

Have fun proofreading!
Have fun proofreading! | Source

THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR NOW

There are other tricks you can use, but these five should help you eliminate most mistakes.

Why is this important? I have had some of my readers ask that question in the past. The point that they wanted to make was that their writing is an expression of their thoughts and beliefs and really who they are. Why should they possibly alter their thoughts by worrying about proper grammar?

I guess I would answer them this way. Most readers who are educated are reading snobs. I include myself in that description. I expect the rules of grammar to be followed, and I am somewhat offended when I find grammatical or spelling errors. In fact, I will stop reading if I see it happen often in an article or book.

Yes, I understand that e.e. cummings was able to snub his nose at the reading establishment, but I wouldn’t count on too many cummings wannabes getting away with it. If you are writing an article or book for an audience, then you need to understand what that audience expects, and one thing the majority of them expect is good grammar. Fact of life so get used to it!

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Great ideas. I particularly like the one about putting the work away for a period of time. I try to read aloud and that is also great. Thanks as always Bill for great ideas. Voted up, Pinned and shared.

    • profile image

      AudraLeigh 4 years ago

      Reading your piece backwards...interesting. Maybe it could be inspiring perhaps. I will try that! Good reading today Bill! You got my attention!!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, it is my pleasure. If these help you then great! Thank you and have a terrific Wednesday!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Audra and thank you! It is tedious reading backwards but you do catch mistakes.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Great tips and ideas. I usually ask someone to read what I have written. When we proof read our own work we have to be extra careful. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      JThomp42 4 years ago

      Great tips Bill. God knows I need all that I can get. Thank you for sharing my friend!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Great tips, Bill. I too, am a spelling/grammar snob. I react the same as you; I quit reading - hubs included!

      Reading backwards is an interesting theory. It's kind of like writing left handed - awkward for a righty!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Awesome tips and I always try to proofread a few hours later or even the next day, while reading aloud. And if all else fails I have my mom or Kevin read it. So couldn't agree with you more. Have, of course voted and shared, too!! :)

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 4 years ago

      Yes, that's great advice. I haven't been doing this long and I've had to go back after a few days and do little edits on ALL my published hubs even though I was SURE I'd proof-read them.

      It's stuff like repeated words, maybe split by a line 'he he did the same...' or the I coming out as i and such. I really want my hubs to be perfect so this is a great help.

      Reading backwards I hadn't thought of. Reading aloud really helps. Scanning silently tends to miss all the errors, as I have discovered!

      Thanks, billybuc. :)

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      A couple of things: (I saw that eye roll!)

      First, LOVE David Sedaris. I listen to his audio books like I listen to my favorite songs.

      Second, I actually had a typo in the tagline of one of my blogs. It said "diary" instead of "dairy". I must've read that thing a hundred times. Someone was kind enough to let me know after it had been up about a month or so.

      Great tips! I should be practicing them, but for the most part I don't. Probs why I haz so many tpyos.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Was looking forward to this one as you mentioned it was coming! I sometimes do 'de-program' my brain as you suggested. It does work.

      Great tips. Voted up and useful.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for these tips, i certainly need the advice! I find the reading backwards idea interesting and must start reading aloud. I do read and re-read, delaying publishing (some of the time, admittedly not always!) and get Mickster to proof read for me too. I must definitely let it sit for 24 hrs or more and will start reading backwards too, thanks Bill!!

      Have a great day, hope you enjoyed applying your strawberries & cream last night!!

    • innerspin profile image

      innerspin 4 years ago from uk

      Great tips, thank you. Your proofreading really does show in your work. I could kick myself sometimes, seeing a typo after publishing. One trick I sometimes use is to print out work rather than reading on screen, for some reason it registers differently on paper. Good to have extra tips to hand.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, I am glad you find these helpful. Small things can get by us so easy, so it's nice to have a couple strategies.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jeff, I'm happy if these help you. Carry one, buddy. The world needs the beauty of your words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, exactly, and in its awkwardness lies the solution. :) Thanks buddy!

    • khmazz profile image

      Kristen Mazzola 4 years ago from South Florida

      Great tips! These are really going to help me! Thank you for sharing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, you are a doll. Thank you and have a great day!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      stuff4kids, scanning silently does not work at all, or at least for me. I miss stuff all the time when I do that. I hope these help you in some way and thank you for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, at least you are honest. LOL Yes, I did roll my eyes. There are two typos in my novel and I don't know how many times I proofread that damn book.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Comfort, thanks for stopping by. These techniques do work, but we have to re-train ourselves to do them. :) Thank you for the visit my friend.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      As always Bill your tips are helpful and 100%. Your eyes see what your mind meant...not necessarily what you really wrote. For me, the best is to leave the piece and go back a few hours or even a day later. I still may miss something but I have a better chance of finding mistakes that way. Reading backwards? Really? I don't think I could master that one!

      Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie my dear friend, you need to put a leash on the MIckster! LOL He has far too much spare time on his hands......the man is too funny, as are you. Bev looked ravishing with strawberries and cream dripping down her face. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Innerspin, that is a great suggestion and it is one that works, too. Thank you for your kind words. I miss typos all the time, but I'm better at catching them than I once was.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      khmazz, that is music to my ears. I am very glad they will help you, and thanks for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I have a hard time with the backwards reading...way too tedious for me and I've got other things to do. I do read out loud and find that helps immensely.

      Thank you my friend!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great tips Bill. Sometimes I'll go back and re-read a sentence that I've written and think, What the heck was I trying to say.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      That is a good one. Having been away from writing for so long I am rusty with grammer. I have several friends read my work and they will each find something different. I have also subscribed to Grammerly which is like spell check on steroids and it helps, but is still a machine. I have learned in the past few weeks to delay publishing for a few days even though I am excited to push the publish button. Eats Shoots and Leaves is a great book too as is Elements of Style. Thanks Bill.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Up and useful! While I am far from perfect, I am amazed at the quality of writing that I often see published. I have a somewhat different reaction than you. Like a train wreck, I keep on watching and waiting to see what could happen! On a more serious note, I have found myself making more careless mistakes and I am afraid that I am giving the message that I don't care enough about my readers to produce high quality work. Thank for your great tips! While I do employ a couple of them, I look forward to testing them all out!

    • profile image

      Lesleysherwood 4 years ago

      These are such great tips. I have cringed at things I've published when looking at them the next day, especially from writing that's done in the evening when I'm tired.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Susan....LOL...I have done the same thing. Way too funny! Thanks for adding that. I think you speak for all of us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions, Sheri. I still find it amazing that I will miss so many errors no matter how many times I re-read a piece of writing. In the end I have to trust that Bev will catch them.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lesley, I have done the same thing. :) We are, after all, only human.

      Thank you for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, like a train wreck.....LOL Great line and I have done the same thing.

      Thank you for stopping by and I hope you find these ideas useful.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 4 years ago from California, United States of America

      I think it is important to write well, with correct spelling and grammar, because then a person's thoughts are better conveyed. We have to think about the audience and what they are witnessing in our writing. I haven't tried re-reading my writing in reverse, I definitely have to try that; sounds like it helps knock out the programming and lets you see the writing fresh. I know what you mean by the programming too; I notice I can't properly re-read my work, always, right away. Letting it sit for awhile sounds like a good idea. I have done much of what you have suggested here, though. I have someone proof-read my articles sometimes, but not always. I also started reading my work aloud. I started doing that years ago, writing poetry; you really get a feel for whether the writing makes sense and sounds right. Mostly, I know I often have to do much editing; even after I've published a piece, I'll go over it several times, and find sentences that are incoherent, letters left out, misuse of words. I'm a bit vigilant about my writing. So, all of your points here are very well-taken. Thanks again for your insights.

    • moronkee profile image

      Moronke Odugbesan 4 years ago

      The best method I use is to leave the write up for a day and when I come back to it, I have fresher ideas.

      Good tips for proof readers like me.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 4 years ago

      Hi Bill.

      Great article with superb suggestion.

      I've just published an article on HP which was written in Open-Office and was checked with the program spell checker then transferred to HP where I have "Grammarly" in top class form catching all that O-O missed. In all I've been from top to bottom six times, and I'll bet $100 that someone can find a mistake, mind you I'll be going over it again in a couple of days.

      Talking about spell checks and typo's I noticed a word that looked odd to me. I also know that American English and British English vary a bit, so I stuck your word in O-O and it gave me these results.

      "Oftentimes" O-O says often times, often-times or oft-times, but not oftentimes. In my English dictionary it says the same as O-O. Which is correct?

      Take care Bill and have a good day.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, when I come across an error in an article it distracts me. When I come across more than one, I begin to wonder if the person cared enough about what they were writing to proofread at all. Bad grammar and consistent spelling errors make me question that person's authority in their field. I'm a reading snob as well it seems.

      When I have re-read my own articles several times and still find mistakes later on, I am genuinely embarrassed. In proofreading I have employed all but one of your techniques, and that is starting from the bottom and reading backwards. That is a truly brilliant idea! Thank you for sharing these important and valuable proofreading methods. Great work as always, my friend. By the way, I found no errors in this excellent article! ;)

      Pearl

    • Kristinmcr profile image

      Kristinmcr 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thank you for these tips! It is unfortunate how many articles are overlooked due to poor spelling and/or grammar mistakes. They may have great content and information, but if I have to decipher what I am reading it doesn't hold my interest. I will be trying some of your suggestions!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Bill, thanks for another helpful article. I use the reading aloud method regularly, and find it indispensable. I had not heard of reading the sentences in reverse order, so I will give that a try. I appreciate the tips.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Valuable suggestions here, Billybuc. If we are to consider ourselves writers, then we must use the best tools available in our trade. I like the suggestion of reading the article sentence by sentence backwards. Thanks.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      It's a very useful article with a lot of interesting tips.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      My favorite tip is the reading backwards one. I use that often. Here's my favorite spell-check gremlin story: I used to work for a company called "Alliant." The spell check program on the company's computer system always wanted to change it to "alienate." I always wondered how many people failed to catch that when sending out correspondence to customers. A good way to alienate those customers, don't you think?

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Billy, great tips. What I don't understand is why you don't put all your ideas in a book of your own. I think you have a lot to offer. Oh, and I will try that reading backwards.

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 4 years ago from Texas

      As an avid reader, I almost always find errors, even in Bestselling books. Imagine my shock and dismay when I published my first book, and found so many little errors. As you said, the mind truly sees what it knows should be there. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      i dnt no, bil. snouns lik wurk to Me. :-)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Most helpful tips indeed and you certainly know what to point out here. A useful hub and voted up too.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nate, I can respect any writer who is vigilant about their writing...as they should be! This is an art form and as such needs to be treated as one. If we settle for less than perfection it does not say much about us as artists.

      I read my work out loud and always wait for the second day before revising. It is much too easy to miss mistakes if I don't do those things.

      Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      moronkee, point well taken and I do that as well. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ghaelach, you got me on that one. That's why I said I almost guarantee there was a mistake in this hub. For whatever reason I have always believed that often times was one word. Thanks to you I now know the truth. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, that was my main concern in writing this article. I thought how silly if I write an article about proofreading and then make a mistake. LOL Talk about a hypocrite! :) Thank you and it's good to know I'm not the only snob around.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kristin! It is sad but true. I will stop reading if I spot more than one error. i figure if the writer didn't care enough to write properly then why should I care enough to read it?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, I'm glad to hear this is helpful...that was the intent. Reading aloud is invaluable for hearing sentence structure errors or for fine-tuning the flow of the piece. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peg, it is a bit unorthodox, but it is useful to read backwards. I usually only use that one if time allows since it is time-consuming to do so. Usually reading out loud catches most of the mistakes.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vkwok, thank you so much for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb....LOL...that is a great one! My classic story was from when I taught school...I sent out a letter to the parents telling them about an upcoming unit on organisms....can you see where this is going? Yes, I wrote orgasms and had to live it down for months afterwards. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Career, I just read your comment backwards. LOL Thank you! I have so many projects to do. I have several book ideas I have started, and about ten more I would like to start. Can you tell me how to get an extra day for each week? :) Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      KT, thanks for mentioning that. Rarely do I pick up a novel that does not have grammatical errors. Makes me wonder why big bucks are spent on editing. :)

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Billy, great tips!!...however, I'll have to master the art of reading forward before I can try going backward :}.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, I was waiting for someone to comment like that. LOL Thanks for not disappointing me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE! I appreciate you stopping by, today and always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Come on, Jo! I'll bet you can do anything you set your mind to do. LOL

      Thank you Jo! I hope you had a great day in sunny old England.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      Excellent tips. Not an established writer myself, I always set aside the writing for a day and I sit down to check any grammatical mistakes only to come up with better work each time I seek to improve it. Of course talented writers have an altogether different story of writing any article at one go without any need for proof reading what so ever. Thank you for the useful hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Arun, I do not know of any writers who can go without proofreading. We all make mistakes and I applaud you for taking whatever steps are necessary to make your work better.

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      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Great suggestions here, Bill! Yes, we all make them, even after reading several times, as we are so close to our own work, and I like the idea of allowing another to read one's work before publishing with their fresh eyes! I am constantly going back and editing, which does make a huge difference! The reading out loud helps greatly too. Yes, and just because one does use the spell-checker doesn't mean it will catch the use of an incorrect word as it is spelled correctly, just used incorrectly!

      Thanks again for the helpful tips here.

      Voted up and sharing

      Hugs and blessings, Faith Reaper

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      Donna Brown 4 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      My favorite ones aren't on the list and they are 1) give yourself plenty of time 2) take lots of breaks 3) When you think you have it perfect, get someone else to look over what you've written. That person will probably find something you missed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cygnetbrown, well how rude of me not to include your favorites. :) Forgive me and thank you for including them here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, the day I stop making mistakes will be the day they shovel dirt over me. We are human and we will make errors. These are just a few tips to catch those errors before we embarrass ourselves. :) Thank you my dear!

      love and blessings, today and always,

      bill

    • profile image

      Tina Truelove 4 years ago

      Great tips! I know I certainly need to be much more careful about proof-reading my work before publishing. I have gone back and read articles I published long ago and I was embarrassed by the mistakes I made. I am trying to be much more careful now and you have certainly provided us with great ideas. Thank you once again billybuc!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      You've provided excellent advice for all writers, Bill. Errors, whether grammatical, structural or logistical, are distracting to readers, even those who aren't 'reading snobs.' Only a writer's nearest and dearest are likely to keep reading if his or her article, essay or story is littered with mistakes that could have been found with careful proofreading and corrected with competent editing.

      Voted Up++ and shared

      Jaye

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tina, we all make mistakes. I'm afraid to go back to my earlier hubs for fear I'll be totally embarrassed. :) I am much more careful today than I once was when I started out. Today I treat writing like the art form that it is.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, you said it much better than I could have. Thank you for giving my words a clear and concise voice.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great ideas. I will implement them.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Some great tips Bill. Reading backwards is an interesting idea, sound time consuming.

      I know I have picked up a couple of mistakes on my hubs re-reading them after a while, things like plural instead of singular, and also using both present tense and past tense which no program is going to pick up. We really do need to concentrate and read alud when proofreading.

      Thank you for these tips

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great lambservant, and thank you for the visit my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rosemay, I do that all the time. My tenses the first time through are almost frightening. LOL I eventually get it right, so there is hope for all of us.

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      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      These are excellent tips for catching those mistakes in our writing. I am continually amazed at the people who do not use the spell check built in to our hubs. That would at least catch some of the mistakes, but not all as you also said. Generally speaking, I do put finished articles aside for a day or even longer before publishing to proof read once again using some of these suggestions. Today's hub was an exception because of the closeness to St. Patrick's Day. Up and useful votes and will share.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      All very good suggestions. I have read over a mistake that I only notices after publication many times, because, as you say, we read what we think we wrote. I wonder, were you particularly careful when writing this hub? I would've been nervous!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Shoot, Joe!

      Shoot Joe!

      Save a life -- proofread.

      Up, Useful, and Interesting. All good suggestions.

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      Mark Bruno 4 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Once again you have nailed it Bill. These are great tips for all of us writers to learn and to use. Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas that I know will work for all of us.

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      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Thanks for this ,Bill. I am always really conscious about spelling and grammar - old school! Nevertheless, it happens that mistakes occur, and cause me to blush! I find a big difference when writing on my iPad ( predictive text) and my computer, so I really have to watch that.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Boy do i need this! Waiting 24 hours before publishing, then reading it again is an excellent idea, one that i will follow. Thank's for all the great tips.....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, I think some writers are just lazy and I think that's a shame. This is a craft and should be treated as such. Thanks as always for the visit. You are appreciated my friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crystal, I was very nervous. I think I passed this test, but on an earlier hub I spelled site as sight and missed it five times. LOL

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian....LOL...great line! Thank you, and thanks for catching the earlier goof.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, you are very welcome, and thank you for the blog today.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, I find I'm very sloppy on emails and on Facebook....and I don't care as much on those. Hubs are a whole different animal, though. They are a statement of who I am as a writer so I'm extra careful.

      Thank you Vicki! It's always nice to see you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, the truth is we all need these. I was quite nervous writing this hub for fear I would make a mistake and not catch it. :)

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      i feel that proofreading can be improved by actually taking the time

      to go through your hub instead of rushing through it and looking for mistakes.

      its always when you look for mistakes that you overlook your mistakes

      other than that really great article overall thanks for the tips

    • Coffeeatdawn profile image

      MB 4 years ago from Philippines

      I love your article...I am new around and of course the first mistake I did was actually excitedly publish. I wake up today, re-read it and thought, "Omg!". I swear I was beating myself for all those errors. Thank you for the tips

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Torrilynn, I tend to agree with you, but we are only human and mistakes happen no matter how careful we are. Thank you for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Coffee, you are not alone. Most of us, when we first start out, can hardly wait to publish.....I look back at some of my earlier hubs and I am embarrassed. :) Welcome to HubPages!

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 4 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Nice job, Bill. Excellent tips. Writing anything without mistakes is very difficult. When I write a piece I am very careful to avoid mistakes, but, naturally, often times mistakes pop up. I find it hard to simply re-read what I've written to try to find errors, but, of course, it's necessary. One thing I've found helpful is to re-read the piece with a single purpose in mind. When I was writing for newspapers I would re-read the article only to look at each statement to be sure it was factually correct. Then re-read it again to be sure all the words were spelled correctly and the grammar was OK. The correct spelling of names of persons or organizations would get special attention. If one has time and patience, it's also wise to look at what is written to decide whether it is complete -- or if anything important might have been inadvertently left out. The more you re-read your own work without a single purpose the harder it is, I think, to give it the attention it deserves.

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Editing is a time consuming but necessary process. I find it hard to spot mistakes myself too, and it is more effective when someone sees it and tells you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 4 years ago from USA

      Great tips, thank you! I will have to try reading my sentences in reverse order, I've never heard that one before. I'm not very good with grammar rules myself, fortunately my wife is willing to do some editing for me while I learn.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Michelle! As long as that someone knows good grammar it's a great way of proofreading.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, that is really the easiest and least time-consuming way to do it. Thank you for the visit.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Proof reading has never been one of my strong points.

    • viewfinders profile image

      viewfinders 4 years ago from God's own country(kerala)

      hai billi, thanks for sharing these great ideas.

      voted useful.

    • Anna Sternfeldt profile image

      Anna Sternfeldt 4 years ago from Svenljunga, Sweden

      Great advice, thumb up! One issue that can be a bit tricky when writing is when you have a certain style that actually breaks the grammar rules. When breaking the rules has importance, because you want certain words and sentences to be read in a certain way. And I have noticed that to have someone proof read this kind of writing, they need to be good at grammar. You must know the rules to be able to break them :-) This matter also makes it harder for me to write in English as that is not my mother tounge, if i like to use that kind of style.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      William, great tips and I tend to agree, that multiple re-readings serves no purpose. I know because I have done up to five re-reads and still missed mistakes. Thank you for your tips.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, I'm just happy I didn't make any errors in this piece. :) Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      viewfinders, it was my pleasure. Thank you for stopping by.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, I can't even imagine trying to write in a second language, especially English, and follow grammar rules. I think English is very difficult.....it is for those of us who consider it our native language. You do remarkably well my friend. I will respond to your email soon.

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      Willette 4 years ago from Michigan

      Hey billybuc: Excellent article about grammar mistakes. I never heard about or even thought about reading the sentences backwards. That's an interesting concept; I may have to give that one a shot. Thanks so much for sharing. I hope the ones that really need it, read and take note. Thumbs up, useful, awesome and a share.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Kellyteam, thanks for stopping by again. I hope these tips help someone as they have helped me. They are old teacher tricks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good points Tennicut, and thank you!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      When I work on a hub or a story, I frequently read it out loud. And I have noticed, too, that if you wait a while and read it, you notice more mistakes.

      Great tips, Bill, thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true Kathryn! The reading out loud trick works every time for me.

      Thank you my friend. I hope you are well.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Helpful tips, nice hub here!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad to hear it Pinkchic! Thank you and I hope you are well.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi again Bill,

      With every precaution taken, sometimes I still find occasional errors on older hubs. It is so nice that we can go in and edit at any time! Again...great and informative hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Peggy! I have gone back months later and found mistakes. It makes me wonder what I was doing the first five times I proofread it. :)

    • sholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Great tips, Bill!! :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Susan! Good to hear from you again. I hope all is well with your family.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Interesting suggestions, Bill and these are going to help out a lot of readers like me. Inspite of proofreading my hubs, I tend to find errors that have creeped in. Thanks for this brilliant hub.

      Voted up and useful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are welcome, Rajan, and thank you my friend. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I don't know when last I read an article on HubPages aloud before publishing. I think I need to start doing that again... Thanks Bill, these tips are great! Happy weekend! :)

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Bill, I am wondering how you get the quote (at the very top) to appear blue and include a link without looking like it does when you use the link capsule. I can't get them to look like that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mel! Bev wants to hear everything I write, so she gets what she wants and I get some proofreading done at the same time. Have a great weekend, Mel!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, the quotes come from an online source called Brainy Quotes....if you copy and paste it into the body of your hub it will appear in blue. I have no idea why but it does. :)

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      Yikes!Another weakness of mine that you are helping me solve. My 'mommy brain' gets easily distracted and then I try to work at night when I'm pretty tired (but my son is sleeping:) and editing goes out the window. I am working on it and I will try your tips on all of my hubs! Although, the one about reading your hub backwards is kind of weird. Thanks for sharing.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      The minute I read the title to this hub, I thought, “Yes!” I am terrible with proofreading my work and too often break my golden rule: Always came back and do a 'cold read' to check grammar, typos, etc. It’s your “gathering dust” rule. I often find things I want to change as well so that it reads more smoothly. Excellent hub, Billy! I liked your pointers very much. :-)

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thanks, Bill, that is very helpful! Every little thing I learn how to do helps my ability to make a decent hub. Have a spectacular weekend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Insightful, being a mother and a writer is tough....if I were tired I couldn't write or edit. No way! Yes, reading backwards is weird....but useful if you have the time to do it. I have found read out loud to be the most useful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Genna! Now I have to train myself to follow my own advice. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, thank you and we will have a great weekend. We are going to try and get some work done in the garden if the rain allows us to do so. Enjoy your weekend as well.

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 4 years ago

      I tend to make mistakes, especially since English is my second language, but I try to improve my skills. I proofread of course, but sometimes I still miss things... You are right, it better to leave your article for a while, and then try to proofread, with a "fresh" mind.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Monis, I had no idea that English was your second language. Bravo to you because it sure is not obvious in your writing.

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 4 years ago

      Thank you so much, Bill! This is THE BEST compliment!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Monis, you are very welcome and I was telling you the truth. I have no idea where you are from but you write better English than some of my friends here in the States.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Reading outloud and backwards is a technique new to me. I will use it! Always find leaving it overnight and going back helps as well. Still, I find errors sometimes after it is out there. Hopefully, this will prevent those little mistakes from escaping notice. Thanks for the tips.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are welcome, Dianna. In truth, I hate reading backwards but it does work. :) Thank you!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Well I have to admit that I am a proofreading freak. Not that I don't make mistakes, because I definitely do and probably have a bunch in my hubs as I write this.

      But I love to proof things, from signs and articles, to books I am reading and television newscasts. Drives my husband crazy. I usually come back to something I've written the next day and read it. Then I go back and read it out loud. These tips are really really helpful and should be used by anyone who writes.

      I've had to be careful as my daughter makes spelling mistakes and when she was younger, teachers would not correct them, because she was learning the words phonetically. It would drive me crazy. Now that she is older I just say something on her paper is not spelled correctly and let her find it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, don't get me started oh phonics. I don't have time to write my thoughts on that subject. I love that you care so much about proper grammar. I wish more people cared that much.

    • onegreenparachute profile image

      Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      How did I miss this one?? I need all the help I can get and these are great tips. Thanks Billy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Onegreen, you are very welcome my friend, and thank you for finding it and commenting.

    • sgiguere profile image

      Stephanie Giguere 4 years ago from Marlborough MA

      i happen to love e. e. cummings...

      David Foster Wallace is another example of an author who has complete control over the language, and can therefore break all the rules! You have to earn that right.

      Thanks for the article, billybuc. I've never heard of reading your sentences backwards before. I'll have to try it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      sgiguere, I love cummings too, and I love your line that you have to earn that right. Great thoughts and thank you for the visit.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      Very useful tips. My favourite is to read it aloud. Any errors will jump out quicker. Thanks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lady_E my friend, good to see you. I know for me, reading aloud is the best way to catch mistakes quickly.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      I just say fantastic and that's enough. Well done dear. Keep on writing and give us tips to improve further. Voted up with pleasure.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      sunilkunnoth, thank you so much. I hope these help you.

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