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Six Sharp Tips To Proof-Read Like A Flawless Machine

Updated on February 20, 2013

Never tell anyone that your writing is completely error-free and written flawlessly ready to be published as soon as you have finished the post, 99.9% of the time, you will make a mistake, the obvious solution is to proof-read, but how are you going to do it effectively? Here are six tricks you'll love.

You need to learn how to proofread effectively!
You need to learn how to proofread effectively!

1. Multi-Proof-Read

Chances are that you will almost always make a mistake, but to proof-read once, honestly, it isn't enough, I proof-read my work for at least three times, and to ensure I spot the most possible amount of errors, I try to focus on each word and the structure of each sentence, carefully processing the "rightness" of each phrase.

However, to proof-read effectively, I suggest speaking your words out loud as you read, when you speak out a mistake, you will be instantly alerted since you know what's wrong and what's right. Sometimes you will spot tiny stupid mistakes too.

2. Reword, Don't Be Lazy

It's common that many writers, even after they have proof-read their content and sees an obvious error, but ignores it and leaves it as is, just because it is good enough to go, it doesn't mean you shouldn't correct it.

When you spot a couple of fatal writing mistakes, instead of trying to correct every bits of words, why not rewrite the whole paragraph? Come on, it won't take long. If it just doesn't sound right, you must make it sound right, it's your choice if you want to be looked upon by others as a horrible writer or an exceptionally good writer.

3. Get Some External Support

Sometimes, because of the fact that you have written the short story, biography, article or blog post yourself, you are naturally adapted to what your mind wants to say in the content of words, that means if you have made an error, it is difficult to see it compare to other people who have never read the article.

If you think your content needs some revision or extra proof-reading because you want to ensure top quality, it's never a bad idea to invite a friend to proof-read it for you. Of course, I wouldn't suggest getting all your friends to do the work for you, make sure you have read it yourself first, don't be annoying!

4. Search For Common Errors

In case you didn't know, almost all content editors such as Microsoft Word or Open Office has a built-in function for searching a certain thing, even internet browsers have one.

All you have to do is press Control+F (it might not be case for all programs), and search for some of the common writing mistakes we make.

It would be wise to search for words that you often mispell or written incorrectly, get to know yourself. However, most people makes these mistakes:

  • To and Too
  • Your and You’re
  • They and Their
  • Were and We’re

So I guess you understood the point, make sure you cross-check though, in case you have written the words in the other form.

5. Skip A Night

Some people often finish their posts, proof-reads it and just can't wait for a second longer to publish their work on to the web, remember, when a content is exposed online, it is there forever, you can update your work but people who have read the first revision will give you a lower reputation and poorer impression.

Try not to rush proof-reading your work, it is as important as the content itself, ideally, this is what I would do, skip a night and read my content the next day, it can be quiet shocking to see how carelessly some mistakes I have made. Embarrassing.

6. Preview It (If Possible)

Last but not least, after you have checked for all possible errors in your writing and that you are sure it contains absolutely no mistakes, preview it. Of course, previewing is a function used by online writers such as me on HubPages.

If you don't have a preview function, you may want to make one your own, such as printing out your document or re-reading your work in another font or program.

Action Plan

  1. Always proof-read your work for at least 3 times.
  2. Never be lazy, rewrite your content when neccessary.
  3. Getting support from friends or family members could be a good idea.
  4. Search (Control+F) for common writing mistakes.
  5. Skip a night before you proof-read again to refresh your mind.
  6. Last but not least, preview your work or read it in another manner.

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I know from experience that many people whom have read about proof-reading never really takes any actions because they are not productive enough or finds it dull and boring to repetitively read.

Remember, everything is for your own good, stop wondering and take actions!


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