Proofreading is one of the most vital or important parts of the writing process. A piece of writing, free of errors, is the optimal accomplishment. Knowing how to edit is important to effectively communicating as a writer. For example…
You can be reading a fascinating piece of work. Then, their’s a typo. Amistake. It ruins the credibility of the writer, and the reader experience. Can you spot the mistakes?
Try these 7 tips for how to edit you writing:
- Look at work as a whole – Concentrate first on the organization, focus and theme of your writing. Before editing sentence structure, make sure your writing has the message you want to convey.
- Set it aside– Don’t try to proofread as soon as you finish a draft. Walk away from the draft for at least 15 minutes before attempting to edit. This way, you can clear your mind a bit and come back with fresher eyes.
- Print out your writing– Reading on a computer screen is difficult. It boggles my mind that Kindles are such a huge success; a paperback book is always my preference! For the eyes, it’s often less straining to read from a piece of paper. When you print out your work, use a red pen to correct mistakes or adjust wording so that you can notice your corrections immediately.
- Read the text aloud– Try to read each word as it is written on the page, not what you THINK you wrote. You thought of the sentence, “The dog is fluffy.” You actually wrote “The dog s fluffy.” You know what you are trying to say and may read the second sentence as “The dog is fluffy.” Reading slowly and paying attention to each word will help catch mistakes.
- Have someone else look at your work- A second pair of eyes is an amazing tool to use when proofreading. The outside reader can provide valuable feedback if something doesn’t make sense to them. It could be a word, a sentence or an idea. It will be clear to you as the writer, but an outsider who has general knowledge of your topic should also be able to understand your writing.
- Use a dictionary– Sale and sail. They are both words that are spelled correctly. However, if I wrote “The 50 percent off sail was amazing,” spell check will not (and did not) catch that mistake. It should be “The 50 percent off sale was amazing.” A dictionary is a fantastic tool to use in instances when you are unsure if a store’s promotion is a sail or a sale.
- Make a personal checklist– From previous writing, you will know what types of mistakes you typically make. Pay special attention to those. Is it forgetting a period at the end of a sentence? Maybe homonyms (to, too, two) are your downfall. Making a list and checking specifically for those mistakes will greatly help eradicate them from your writing.
Do you use a proofreading technique not included in this list? Let us know!
We love to proofread 🙂 Need a second editor? Start writing with ESL Write Away today!
By Ally Evans