You should always proofread your article to catch mistakes you may have made. Almost every writer makes mistakes so it is essential to proofread your piece before submitting it. Here are some common proofreading errors to avoid when checking your work.
Not Checking for Homonyms
Homonyms are one of the most difficult text errors to look for. Homonyms have the same sound but a different meaning so the sentence may seem correct and you may miss it. Terms like ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ are often missed during proofreading.
One solid method to catch homonym is to do a synonym search. Many word processing documents allow you to highlight terms and receive a list of common synonyms. Synonyms are words with similar meaning so these lists will help you decide whether or not the term is appropriate Read carefully for terms such as ‘there’, ‘they’re’, and ‘their’. These can be source of confusion for many writers and are a common writing mistake.
Not Reading Aloud
Poor grammar and bad sentence structure are hard to catch while speed reading a document. Catching errors in speech is much easier. Read the text out loud to yourself when proofreading a document.
Make sure to including the obligatory pauses during commas and after periods to reflect on the sentence structure and grammar. This will help you notice any awkward wording or structural issues. Make it habit to read all writing out loud. This will allow you to put yourself in the shoes of the reader and decipher the true presentation of the writing.
Not Going Over the Writing Twice
You should also proofread your piece twice. Sometimes sentences have are slightly awkward or have minor issues with phrasing may need to be touched up. You may have a hard time deciding whether to change a small error and may skip them over to ‘think about them a little more’. This often means you miss them entirely. Read and edit the paper twice. During the second reading, make sure that any small mistakes you catch are edited appropriately and the paper sounds like a final draft that is ready for press.
Not Reading in the Shoes of the Correct Audience
You must read from the audience’s shoes when you proofread your document. Keep your audience in mind when proofreading the paper. Will your readers know anything about the product or information? Do you plan to use the article to elaborate on a subject that the reader is already aware of? Make sure that you are aware of the audience that you are ‘speaking’ to before you begin the piece and during proofreading. If the piece comes off as offering basic information and you are speaking to a group of experts, change around the format to offer the appropriate information for the viewers.
You should create a check list of possible mistakes to avoid these proofreading errors. Go through the checklist for each article to confirm that the submission is free of common spelling, grammar, and structural errors. Reading over an article often only takes a short amount of time. Reading over articles and proofing mistakes can help you understand your errors and make you better writer through experience. You may also want to try using a online proofreader to help you catch mistakes that you may miss.
About the author: Max is a freelance technology and Internet marketing writer. He currently works with Ginger Software.