8 Tips for proofreading your own work

8 Tips for proofreading your own work

We all know why proofreading is important so I don’t want to bore you by talking about that. However, I’m hoping that you can all benefit from my mistakes. Proofreading your own work is a lot harder than proofreading other peoples work. This is because you know what you have written and intended to say so it’s natural to miss things out. When you read other people’s work it’s easier to spot a mistake as you have to read more slowly as you do not know what they have written before you read it.

I think I’ve finally mastered how to proofread my own work well and I would like to share 10 tips with you for proofreading your own work.

 

1)      Proofread your own work with fresh eyes: Do not try to proofread your own work immediately after you have finished writing your essay. Whether you realise it or not your eyes will be tired from looking at the computer screen. You are more likely to be able to spot your own mistakes if you take a break and then come back when your eyes are relaxed. Don’t spend your break watching TV though as that is like looking at a computer screen.

 

2)      Proofread your work a 2nd time once you have printed it out: In my experience no matter how carefully I have proofread work on the computer, I always find a few more errors once I have printed it out. I think it’s because your eyes can focus more on printed paper than they can on a computer screen. I have also noticed that I tend to read words on paper significantly slower than I do words on a computer screen.

 

3)      Read aloud: It is easy to miss small words like “can, “to” “for” etc. If you proofread without speaking aloud your mind can simply fill these words in even if you have not written them down. This is my most common mistake and it occurs because I know what I mean to say but I cannot type as fast as I think. If you speak aloud as you perform proofreading on your work you will notice if you have missed a word out as the flow of your speech will be interrupted.

 

4)      Make the text bigger and change the font:  When using “Times New Roman 12” it can be hard to separate all the words on your page. Before you start proofreading make the font size bigger and change the font style. I recommend one called “comic sans” as it known for being the one that is most similar to the way that we write. Information for people who have learning disabilities and visual impairments are often printed in comic sans so that they are more accessible.

 

5)      Check for specific mistakes:  For example, I tend to often write “there” instead of “their”. I also tend to miss out the tiny linking words. For example if I want to write “I went to the doctors”. I may write “I went the doctors”. I know myself well enough now to double check for these kinds of errors. When I say these words whilst proofreading aloud I will stop and take a closer look at them.

 

6)      Use the thesaurus to source academic words: Proofreading is not always just about correcting your spelling mistakes and grammar. If you are writing an essay or a dissertation / thesis the most important aspect of proofreading can be to ensure you use academic words where you can and try to vary your language. Use the thesaurus to find other words. Where possible substitute any basic words for more academic words.

 

7)      Have regular breaks: Unless you are in a real rush don’t try to proofread your whole essay in one sitting. You may need to have a break and if you are proofreading a dissertation or thesis you may need many breaks. In fact opticians recommend that you should look out of the window or into the distance to relax your eyes after 15 minutes of close computer work. It is good advice, your eyes are more likely to spot errors when they relaxed and comfortable.

 

8)      Do not rely on the spellchecker: The spellchecker is not a great tool for proofreading as it cannot inform you if a word is correct or not. It can only show you if that word exists somewhere in the English dictionary.  For example, you may write “which” instead of “witch”,  “now” instead of “know”, of  “there” instead of “their”. There so many words in the English language so many proofreading errors occur in the form of the wrong word being used. By all means use the spellchecker first to easily identify any obvious errors. However, after you have finished you must still proofread the rest of the document very carefully.

 We all know why proofreading is important so I don’t want to bore you by talking about that. However, I’m hoping that you can all benefit from my mistakes. Proofreading your own work is a lot harder than proofreading other peoples work. This is because you know what you have written and intended to say so it’s natural to miss things out. When you read other people’s work it’s easier to spot a mistake as you have to read more slowly as you do not know what they have written before you read it.

I think I’ve finally mastered how to proofread my own work well and I would like to share 10 tips with you for proofreading your own work.

 

1)      Proofread your own work with fresh eyes: Do not try to proofread your own work immediately after you have finished writing your essay. Whether you realise it or not your eyes will be tired from looking at the computer screen. You are more likely to be able to spot your own mistakes if you take a break and then come back when your eyes are relaxed. Don’t spend your break watching TV though as that is like looking at a computer screen.

 

2)      Proofread your work a 2nd time once you have printed it out: In my experience no matter how carefully I have proofread work on the computer, I always find a few more errors once I have printed it out. I think it’s because your eyes can focus more on printed paper than they can on a computer screen. I have also noticed that I tend to read words on paper significantly slower than I do words on a computer screen.

 

3)      Read aloud: It is easy to miss small words like “can, “to” “for” etc. If you proofread without speaking aloud your mind can simply fill these words in even if you have not written them down. This is my most common mistake and it occurs because I know what I mean to say but I cannot type as fast as I think. If you speak aloud as you perform proofreading on your work you will notice if you have missed a word out as the flow of your speech will be interrupted.

 

4)      Make the text bigger and change the font:  When using “Times New Roman 12” it can be hard to separate all the words on your page. Before you start proofreading make the font size bigger and change the font style. I recommend one called “comic sans” as it known for being the one that is most similar to the way that we write. Information for people who have learning disabilities and visual impairments are often printed in comic sans so that they are more accessible.

 

5)      Check for specific mistakes:  For example, I tend to often write “there” instead of “their”. I also tend to miss out the tiny linking words. For example if I want to write “I went to the doctors”. I may write “I went the doctors”. I know myself well enough now to double check for these kinds of errors. When I say these words whilst proofreading aloud I will stop and take a closer look at them.

 

6)      Use the thesaurus to source academic words: Proofreading is not always just about correcting your spelling mistakes and grammar. If you are writing an essay or a dissertation / thesis the most important aspect of proofreading can be to ensure you use academic words where you can and try to vary your language. Use the thesaurus to find other words. Where possible substitute any basic words for more academic words.

 

7)      Have regular breaks: Unless you are in a real rush don’t try to proofread your whole essay in one sitting. You may need to have a break and if you are proofreading a dissertation or thesis you may need many breaks. In fact opticians recommend that you should look out of the window or into the distance to relax your eyes after 15 minutes of close computer work. It is good advice, your eyes are more likely to spot errors when they relaxed and comfortable.

 

8)      Do not rely on the spellchecker: The spellchecker is not a great tool for proofreading as it cannot inform you if a word is correct or not. It can only show you if that word exists somewhere in the English dictionary.  For example, you may write “which” instead of “witch”,  “now” instead of “know”, of  “there” instead of “their”. There so many words in the English language so many proofreading errors occur in the form of the wrong word being used. By all means use the spellchecker first to easily identify any obvious errors. However, after you have finished you must still proofread the rest of the document very carefully.

 We all know why proofreading is important so I don’t want to bore you by talking about that. However, I’m hoping that you can all benefit from my mistakes. Proofreading your own work is a lot harder than proofreading other peoples work. This is because you know what you have written and intended to say so it’s natural to miss things out. When you read other people’s work it’s easier to spot a mistake as you have to read more slowly as you do not know what they have written before you read it.

I think I’ve finally mastered how to proofread my own work well and I would like to share 10 tips with you for proofreading your own work.

 

1)      Proofread your own work with fresh eyes: Do not try to proofread your own work immediately after you have finished writing your essay. Whether you realise it or not your eyes will be tired from looking at the computer screen. You are more likely to be able to spot your own mistakes if you take a break and then come back when your eyes are relaxed. Don’t spend your break watching TV though as that is like looking at a computer screen.

 

2)      Proofread your work a 2nd time once you have printed it out: In my experience no matter how carefully I have proofread work on the computer, I always find a few more errors once I have printed it out. I think it’s because your eyes can focus more on printed paper than they can on a computer screen. I have also noticed that I tend to read words on paper significantly slower than I do words on a computer screen.

 

3)      Read aloud: It is easy to miss small words like “can, “to” “for” etc. If you proofread without speaking aloud your mind can simply fill these words in even if you have not written them down. This is my most common mistake and it occurs because I know what I mean to say but I cannot type as fast as I think. If you speak aloud as you perform proofreading on your work you will notice if you have missed a word out as the flow of your speech will be interrupted.

 

4)      Make the text bigger and change the font:  When using “Times New Roman 12” it can be hard to separate all the words on your page. Before you start proofreading make the font size bigger and change the font style. I recommend one called “comic sans” as it known for being the one that is most similar to the way that we write. Information for people who have learning disabilities and visual impairments are often printed in comic sans so that they are more accessible.

 

5)      Check for specific mistakes:  For example, I tend to often write “there” instead of “their”. I also tend to miss out the tiny linking words. For example if I want to write “I went to the doctors”. I may write “I went the doctors”. I know myself well enough now to double check for these kinds of errors. When I say these words whilst proofreading aloud I will stop and take a closer look at them.

 

6)      Use the thesaurus to source academic words: Proofreading is not always just about correcting your spelling mistakes and grammar. If you are writing an essay or a dissertation / thesis the most important aspect of proofreading can be to ensure you use academic words where you can and try to vary your language. Use the thesaurus to find other words. Where possible substitute any basic words for more academic words.

 

7)      Have regular breaks: Unless you are in a real rush don’t try to proofread your whole essay in one sitting. You may need to have a break and if you are proofreading a dissertation or thesis you may need many breaks. In fact opticians recommend that you should look out of the window or into the distance to relax your eyes after 15 minutes of close computer work. It is good advice, your eyes are more likely to spot errors when they relaxed and comfortable.

 

8)      Do not rely on the spellchecker: The spellchecker is not a great tool for proofreading as it cannot inform you if a word is correct or not. It can only show you if that word exists somewhere in the English dictionary.  For example, you may write “which” instead of “witch”,  “now” instead of “know”, of  “there” instead of “their”. There so many words in the English language so many proofreading errors occur in the form of the wrong word being used. By all means use the spellchecker first to easily identify any obvious errors. However, after you have finished you must still proofread the rest of the document very carefully.

 We all know why proofreading is important so I don’t want to bore you by talking about that. However, I’m hoping that you can all benefit from my mistakes. Proofreading your own work is a lot harder than proofreading other peoples work. This is because you know what you have written and intended to say so it’s natural to miss things out. When you read other people’s work it’s easier to spot a mistake as you have to read more slowly as you do not know what they have written before you read it.

I think I’ve finally mastered how to proofread my own work well and I would like to share 10 tips with you for proofreading your own work.

 

1)      Proofread your own work with fresh eyes: Do not try to proofread your own work immediately after you have finished writing your essay. Whether you realise it or not your eyes will be tired from looking at the computer screen. You are more likely to be able to spot your own mistakes if you take a break and then come back when your eyes are relaxed. Don’t spend your break watching TV though as that is like looking at a computer screen.

 

2)      Proofread your work a 2nd time once you have printed it out: In my experience no matter how carefully I have proofread work on the computer, I always find a few more errors once I have printed it out. I think it’s because your eyes can focus more on printed paper than they can on a computer screen. I have also noticed that I tend to read words on paper significantly slower than I do words on a computer screen.

 

3)      Read aloud: It is easy to miss small words like “can, “to” “for” etc. If you proofread without speaking aloud your mind can simply fill these words in even if you have not written them down. This is my most common mistake and it occurs because I know what I mean to say but I cannot type as fast as I think. If you speak aloud as you perform proofreading on your work you will notice if you have missed a word out as the flow of your speech will be interrupted.

 

4)      Make the text bigger and change the font:  When using “Times New Roman 12” it can be hard to separate all the words on your page. Before you start proofreading make the font size bigger and change the font style. I recommend one called “comic sans” as it known for being the one that is most similar to the way that we write. Information for people who have learning disabilities and visual impairments are often printed in comic sans so that they are more accessible.

 

5)      Check for specific mistakes:  For example, I tend to often write “there” instead of “their”. I also tend to miss out the tiny linking words. For example if I want to write “I went to the doctors”. I may write “I went the doctors”. I know myself well enough now to double check for these kinds of errors. When I say these words whilst proofreading aloud I will stop and take a closer look at them.

 

6)      Use the thesaurus to source academic words: Proofreading is not always just about correcting your spelling mistakes and grammar. If you are writing an essay or a dissertation / thesis the most important aspect of proofreading can be to ensure you use academic words where you can and try to vary your language. Use the thesaurus to find other words. Where possible substitute any basic words for more academic words.

 

7)      Have regular breaks: Unless you are in a real rush don’t try to proofread your whole essay in one sitting. You may need to have a break and if you are proofreading a dissertation or thesis you may need many breaks. In fact opticians recommend that you should look out of the window or into the distance to relax your eyes after 15 minutes of close computer work. It is good advice, your eyes are more likely to spot errors when they relaxed and comfortable.

 

8)      Do not rely on the spellchecker: The spellchecker is not a great tool for proofreading as it cannot inform you if a word is correct or not. It can only show you if that word exists somewhere in the English dictionary.  For example, you may write “which” instead of “witch”,  “now” instead of “know”, of  “there” instead of “their”. There so many words in the English language so many proofreading errors occur in the form of the wrong word being used. By all means use the spellchecker first to easily identify any obvious errors. However, after you have finished you must still proofread the rest of the document very carefully.

 

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