Proofreading refers to the process of detecting and correcting errors, typically human-made such as typos or grammatical mistakes, in a body of text. It is an important process that leads to better readability of the text and ensures that the message of the text isn’t lost due to errors made while creating it.
Even though it is a fairly simple process that only requires careful attention to the work being done, there are some proofreading techniques which can ensure the proper and desired outcome.
When it comes to academia, proofreading becomes especially vital as anything written in that context is expected to be well-written and completely free of errors. Here are some techniques students can use while book proofreading or proofreading in general.
When you are proofreading, concentration is the most important thing as you are dealing with finding small mistakes in what is often quite a large body of text. Students should focus on the task at hand and eliminate distractions to the best possible extent. Activities that enhance concentration such as meditation can also be used by students as tools to further their proofreading abilities.
- Correcting Punctuation
A very common mistake people make while writing is the use of improper punctuation and it should be one of the first things that students should notice while attempt to proofread. The difference between a good meaningful sentence and a bad unstructured sentence is often the punctuation used in the two sentences.
- Correcting Numbers and Figures
Numbers can often be stated wrong in the first draft of the text, as it is very easy to get numbers or figures wrong. Make sure that any number or figure quoted in the text is accurate and makes sense.
- Backward Reading
The human brain is insanely capable of detecting patterns in things, especially if we are the ones creating them. When we are writing the first draft, our brain automatically follows along the flow and once we are done with it, a fixed pattern is established and it can be very hard for us to spot flaws or faults in our writing. A good technique to counter this is by reading the text backward so that the default pattern that is established in our minds regarding the text breaks and we can find new things that need fixing.
- Proofread aloud!
It can be easy to miss errors in the text when we read them with our inner voice. However, when we read the text out loud, we are engaging not only one but two of our sense with the text! As we hear ourselves speaking, our brain naturally starts picking up more errors because it is more alert due to multiple stimuli. Reading out loud can also help us figure out flaws in phasing and sentence structures better as those things are also easier to miss when we just read using our inner voice.
Proofreading is an essential skill for most students and with these few, simple proofreading technqieus you can improve your ability to proofread and produce written work which reads, flows and sounds better.