It’s almost a requirement that you have a third-party read over anything you’ve written prior to submission. In addition to invaluable feedback and criticism, an extra pair of eyes are useful in catching grammar and spelling mistakes you may have otherwise missed. But unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of having someone on hand to read their work. In such times it’s critical that writers learn how to edit by themselves. Here’s a list of five tips that are sure to help you become a better self-editor in the event you are your only proofreader prior to submission:
Wait 24 hours: Recently written words have a tendency to be read in our heads as we intended to write them, making possible mistakes hard to sniff out. Waiting a day or two to edit your own work allows you time to lose familiarity with the writing and better detect errors.
Read it out loud: Speaking your words out loud not only helps you improve the flow of your writing, it enables you to catch grammatical mistakes you could be missing on account of “looking” for errors rather than sensing them as an absorber of information.
Read it backwards: Another clever way to outwit your brain’s habit of scanning over the finer details of writing is to read your work backwards. By separating your work into individual sentences that don’t flow together, you can focus more on the specifics of each written thought or idea.
Know your most common mistakes: Old habits die hard (kind of like clichés) and it’s important that writers remember where their work tends to be its weakest. That way you can be on a look out for the specific errors you make the most. Write a list if you have to, but try and commit it to memory.
Proofread all the time: Whether reading an article in the New York Times or poring over medical coding industry news on your smartphone, always be on the lookout for spelling errors and poor grammar. Not only is it exciting to uncover mistakes in mainstream media and printed literature, it trains you to become a natural editor which in turn helps you better proofread your own writing.
Editing should always be done by somebody else. But the reality for most writers, especially those of you in school, is that proofreading must be done by yourself. If this is the case, then become a better self-editor by incorporating the aforementioned tips into your proofreading plan.
By Jennifer Smith
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You’ve crafted a letter, manuscript, or essay designed to impress someone important. You’ve read and re-read the document for mistakes only to discover that some errors were overlooked. If you’ve already sent the final draft after this discovery, you can only hope these mistakes go unnoticed by the recipient. Avoid potential embarrassment in the future by taking a few simple steps to improve your proofreading.
- Read the document backward word by word. The eyes tend to jump at the same spots when reading a document. Reading backward helps to break this habit as you are forced to read each word separately and catch spelling errors.
- Take another look at your work with fresh eyes. If you have some time after you’ve completed your final draft, walk away from it and do something else for a while. When you return refreshed, you’ll be able to look at your work with a fresh pair of eyes and a new point of view.
- Speak the words aloud. Reading aloud helps you to hear your writing differently. Circle any spot that sound awkward or contain errors so you can revise them later.
- Get rid of some of the commas. The average person tends to put commas in the wrong place or overuse them all together. Check each comma in your work and determine whether it’s needed.
- Let a friend look at your work. A fresh set of unbiased eyes can do wonders. Naturally, we tend to avoid seeing errors in our own writing, but others may be able to catch them more readily. Have your friend underline the potential errors so you can have an idea of what your recipient may notice. Be sure to make the necessary corrections.
- Use your computer’s spell checker. While computers aren’t foolproof, they can be helpful. Give attention to the possible mistakes highlighted by your computer. Use discretion when following the computer’s suggestions. It may identify accurately spelled words as mistakes if it does not recognize them.
- Pay attention to the typical errors. Refer to your earlier writings that were proofread by a professor or someone else like an editor. Be sure your new writing does not duplicate the errors found in previous works.
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One of the crucial steps you have to undergo when creating your marketing material is to proofread. Many marketing ads such as your postcard printing have been made successful because of excellent proofreading of the content.
To know more about proofreading and how you can apply it to your marketing tools, here are some details about it.
Your Work, You Proofread Before sending out any written material, whether they’re print postcards or emails, always remember to perform the final step – to proofread your copy. Take the time and effort to check and edit your content. Be sure that there are no misspelled words or grammatical errors. Make sure your captions are in the right images.
If possible, check your copy at least a few times before you send the final proof to your printing provider or click the ‘send’ button. A few incorrect words can make a huge difference in the way your message is received by your target readers. And a negative impression will create great damage to your reputation.
The bottom line is to never send out anything that you haven’t proofread adequately. You could never undo the negative impact that a misspelled word can create in your postcard or email. It would only give you an image of unprofessionalism and amateur skills. Nobody would be encouraged to purchase from you anymore as your readers would hesitate to take your offer. So proofread as if your life depends on it (surely, it is, especially your business!). If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, get someone who can do it for you.
Provide relevant subject lines and headlines Your subject line in your email and your headline in your marketing ad are the very first things that your target audience will read in your content. Even before they click open your email or read the message in your postcard printing, your recipient may choose to do so base on the effectiveness of your subject line or headline. So make sure to provide them with something to grab their attention and interest. Nevertheless, avoid exaggerated words because they can only mislead your reader to what you really want to say in your message.
Stick to one message. Don’t try to explain what you have to offer in a dissertation-like manner. It can only confuse your target reader. Just focus on one idea and thought then use a strong call-to-action that would convince your audience to favorably respond to your message. They would call you anyway if they really want to know more about your business.
As a marketer, you should never underestimate the power of proofreading to help you have an effective marketing tool such as your print postcards that generate leads every time.
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