Proofreading…Backwards?

In my role as Firm Director of PRowl Public Relations, most of my work consists of editing, editing, editing. Not only do I look at strategic messaging, I also have to be aware of all things spelling and grammar. As author Mignon Fogarty of the blog “Tips and Tactics for Effective Proofreading” notes, we all make mistakes and typos slip through, but there a few ways to help diminish these writing gaffes.

Here are some proofreading tools Fogarty has found effective:

  1. Read your work backward. Start with the last word in the last sentence and work your way back to the beginning. When reading a sentence from beginning to end, your mind tends to skip over errors because you know what you “meant” to write.
  2. Read your work out loud. This tactic is especially helpful when finding comma placement errors.
  3. Always proofread a printed version of your work. The computer screen can get the best of us, so warm up the printer.
  4. Give yourself more time. Step away from the computer for an hour or so before starting to proofread; this will help clear your mind and approach the writing from a fresh perspective.

We always have recommended tip #3 to our PRowl staff. Print double-sided to help be less wasteful and get out the red pen. I always catch more when I’m free to mark up a page and make column notes. Tips #2 and #4 have also been helpful for me in the past. And if you have roommates listening, don’t worry, they already know you’re crazy! The best tip of all though – have someone else read your work. As good of an editor as you may be, you often need another pair of eyes to look at the text objectively.

I have never used tip #1 but figured I’d give it a try on this post. Hopefully there are no errors!

Do you have any other proofreading tips to recommend?

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

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