If a writer wants his/her readers to understand the text clearly and accurately, it is essential to make the text error-free and precise. In order to make the writing effective in all aspects, proofreading is a must. Apart from having good writing skills, one also needs to have adequate proofreading skills so as to enhance the quality of content and make it readable. Proofreading is a most challenging task; constant effort and practice is required to develop skills to review a text effectively.
Following are some important tips to develop proofreading skills:
Work on your weaknesses: To have efficient proofreading skills, a proofreader should always analyze his/her weaknesses regarding Grammar and should read more and more related documents so as to learn various vital forms of grammar. Also, the priority should be given to vocabulary and to strengthen it by reading newspapers and other rich documents. Spelling mistakes are also very commonly made a mistake and the proofreader should be capable enough to detect such mistakes and rectify them with his knowledge. Admitting your shortcomings and working on them will prove to be beneficial in enhancing proofreading skills.
Eliminate distractions: Proofreading is the mental activity, careful analysis of content needs to be done to find the mistakes. It is important to stay away from all type of distractions when proofreading the text. You need to have clear and peaceful mind while reviewing the text for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Develop habit of multiple reading: Proofreading is not a simple task, it requires enough time to read the content carefully and check it for any kind of spelling and grammar mistakes, word usage, wrong punctuation, misuse of verbs and tenses, sentence structure and the like. To correct these errors, it is important to read the text with a critical eye. There are several small mistakes that writer makes knowingly or unknowingly. These small errors can make a big difference; it can change the meaning of the text. Therefore, it is important to eliminate these grammar mistakes and typos. One time reading will not help in identifying the minor mistakes, hence it is advisable to develop habit if multiple reading in order to proofread the manuscript effectively.
Develop habit of reading: With a view to develop good proofreading skills, one must work on developing the habit of reading. It is important to read a variety of writing styles such as books, journals, newspapers, magazines, business and formal letters, etc. to enhance knowledge. This will also aid in augmenting understanding of different fields.
Have patience and good observational skills: Proofreader should be very patient while reviewing the text. As re-reading the content and checking the mistakes is a critical task, one must have good patience level. In addition to this skill, one also needs to have great observational skills to identify minor mistakes as well. Proofreader should check the grammar and spelling errors, typos and other mistakes with a critical eye.
Develop knowledge of different subjects: Apart from having good command of English language and grammar rules, it is imperative to have good understanding of varied fields such as finance, Marketing, medicine, art and so on. Knowledge of various topics will aid in checking the relevancy of content with the respective subject matter. One should have a solid grasp of the topic he/she is proofreading in order to identify mistakes in content. Reviewing the text without having any knowledge of the subject will prove to be no good as one will not be able to check the relevancy of facts written in the text. Therefore, it is essential to develop knowledge of varied subjects to improve the quality of the text.
Work on computer skills: In the present era, computer skills are very important for proofreading, because documents are nowadays made on computer text editors (for ex. MS Word, notepad, etc.) and followed by automatic proofreading by the respective editors. As well, to prepare the documents you should be familiar with their working and important tools like shortcut keys and key special features. Also, if not through the text editors, you can also make your way with online proofreading sites. All you need to know is how to use the features efficiently and effectively. Even if you choose to proofread manually any document, at some or the other point, you will feel forced to use the modern day magician ‘INTERNET’ for which the only prerequisite is to know how to use Computers
Read aloud: When writing a text, we know what message it is trying to convey, so we read it the way we think it should be written rather than the way it is supposed to be. In such cases, we tend to neglect the mistakes we have made while writing. Therefore, it is important to read the text literally with close attention to every detail. Reading the text aloud helps you to identify the grammar and spelling mistakes, wrong word usage, and punctuations mistakes easily. You must try to read the content slowly and accurately to find the minor errors.
Use dictionaries and books: Many times, it happens when we forget how to spell a word. At that moment, it is good to use dictionary or reference book. One should feel humiliated to use dictionaries, style guide or reference books to proofread the content competently. One should also make enough use of grammar guides and English language book to check the errors in grammar and spelling.
Proficiency in Grammar and English language: The principle of proofreading relies upon the ability to rectify any kind of mistakes in a document after it is complete. A proofreader should have enough knowledge of grammar so as to proofread effectively. Proofreading completes and complements your article and makes it more error-free, but if the proofreader is not having enough knowledge of Grammar, then he/she won’t get an accurate output of proofreading.