When you have worked hard to come up with ideas and present them in a written form, the last thing you want to do is have grammatical errors in your write up.
Spelling mistakes, wrong punctuations, and poor sentence structures among other grammatical errors can distract a reader.
They can make the reader get bored of reading your content or fail to see the value of the content that you have presented.
If you wrote an essay that has grammatical errors, you will score less than you would if the paper did not have errors.
The same case happens when writing a CV. An employer is likely to pay keen attention to your CV if you use proper grammar punctuations and spelling.
As a business owner, you risk the reputation of your business when you present documents that have grammatical mistakes.
Since little grammatical errors can cost your academic performance, employability, and business, it is important that you work on your proofreading skills.
Why proofreading matters
The goal of proofreading is to make sure that whatever you write comes across the way you intended it to, is accurate and readable.
You want to ensure that whoever gets to read your content enjoys it, understands it, and gets meaning and value from it.
You achieve this by ensuring that your written content is free of spelling, typographical and punctuation errors among other grammatical mistakes.
The way you write determines how the intended audience views and judges you. If you write clearly, the reader will create a good impression of you.
It is possible for you to think that since you have done good research about your concept, the intended audience will love your document.
Your concept might be the best but if there are typos, the intended reader will be turned off. They will find it hard to go through it and might finally discredit it.
And even when you think that you have perfect grammatical skills, you are likely to make mistakes. This is why proofreading matters a lot.
Get hired as a proofreader
Besides proofreading your documents, you can also get hired as a proofreader.
Proofreading has become very relevant for businesses today.
Business owners do not have the time or capacity to go through their marketing copies, business proposals, publications, and newsletters.
They are looking for people with these skills to do this kind of work for them. So, if you become an expert at proofreading, you can land yourself good deals.
Even better, you can do proofreading virtually for companies. And you can do it anywhere.
All you’ll need is a computer or phone, an internet connection, and digital writing assistance tools such as Grammarly.
Other skills that you need as a proofreader include:
- Spelling, grammar, and language knowledge
- A keen eye to noticing even the smallest errors
- Ability to adapt to different styles of writing
- Mental focus
- Passion for reading and writing
- Familiarity with digital editing and proofreading tools
15-question proofreading quiz (With Answers)
One of the best ways to improve your proofreading skills is by taking a proofreading quiz. Such quizzes enlighten you on what to look out for.
You can do these quizzes online and know your score.
Here is a proofreading quiz (and answers) that can help you improve your skills.
Fill in the gaps below with the correct words.
- The cat___________ milk yesterday.
2) I write __________.
- every day
3) He was negatively __________ by the procedure.
4) The audience _________ impressed by Ann’s performance.
5) _________ were running to class.
6) _________ are so smart.
7) To ______ is this letter addressed?
8) My goal is to ________ weight.
9) We ________ discussed the company’s objectives.
10) I have _______ all my goals today.
11) She _________ a puppy.
12) Once you _______ to these working procedures, you will become the best manager.
13) _______ bike was stolen.
14) I _______ Mary on her appearance.
15) She has a ________ voice. She sings ________.
- beautifully, beautiful
- beautiful, beautifully
How much did you score?
Let’s find out. Here are the answers:
- every day
- beautiful, beautifully
What to look out for when proofreading.
To perfect your skill as a proofreader and provide error-free content, you must know what exactly to look out for when going through a document.
1. Look at the general appearance of the content
Before making corrections at the sentence level, look at the general appearance and the structure of the whole write up. Make the necessary changes to the structure and organization of the paper.
This helps to determine if the length of the paragraphs is appropriate for the kind of content. In a research paper, a publication, or an academic paper, long paragraphs would be allowed.
However, content that requires engagement or conversations with the audience should not have really long paragraphs. They would easily get bored with reading long blocks of information.
2. Take note of punctuations
You should also be keen on the punctuation marks. Often times writers misplace hyphens, colons, dashes, semicolons. Sometimes, commas are used wrong or are missing.
When this happens, the intended message might not be brought out.
Your goal as a proofreader is to ensure proper punctuation is used throughout the document.
There are tons of information online that can help you with how different punctuation marks are used.
3. Spelling mistakes and typos
Spelling mistakes in written documents are common. When writing long or even short papers, an author can misspell some wrongs.
When proofreading, pay attention to spelling. If you are not sure about a word, check it up online or in a dictionary and make the appropriate corrections.
4. Look for unnecessary, missing, and wrong words
As you proofread, you might notice that some words are unnecessary, missing or have been used wrongly.
Remove, correct, and add omitted words accordingly to make the writeup clear, concise, and readable.
5. Sentence structures
A document with proper and consistent sentence structure separates good and mediocre writing.
When proofreading ensure that sentences maintain and grammatical pattern. If this structure keeps changing, the readers will be confused.
Also, look at the tense used and consistency of the headlines.
6. Examine the references
Scholarly and professional papers require a list of references. As you proofread, ensure that citations have been done correctly. Failure to this, your paper can be discredited.
If you are a beginner, your proofreading skills might not be effective. As such, invest in learning these skills. You will become a perfect and reliable proofreader with time.
Proofreading can seem like a daunting task particularly because as a proofreader, you are expected to produce error-free work.
In case errors are identified after the submission of the work, you are the one to be blamed.
However, this doesn’t have to be hard. As long as you can identify the mistakes and correct them you are good to go.
Below are a few tips that will help you produce high quality, error-free content.
1. Read slowly and loudly
This might sound awkward and unnecessary but it is very important to read the content word for word, loud and slowly.
While doing this, you will easily notice poor grammar and spelling mistakes. You will also tell if the punctuation marks have been used appropriately and correctly.
When reading out the content loud, you will understand the content like the way your audience will; you know how a reader will feel when going through the document.
If, for instance, the sentences are too long and you are gasping for breath, you will know that they need to be shortened.
You will also know if the intended message comes out clearly.
2. Read one word at a time
Practice reading one word at time. Usually, when you read words normally, you are likely to skip some words.
You may fail to notice some mistakes because you are taking in a lot of words at a go.
Reading each word at a time might make the proofreading process slow but it will enable you to identify and rectify all errors.
3. Alter the appearance of the document
Sometimes changing the color, font and size of the write up can help you view the document in a different angle.
It enables you to gain a different perspective of the document, and you are therefore able to know where to make changes.
After you have proofread, return the document to the recommended font, size and color.
4. Take note of every punctuation marks
When punctuation marks are used in the wrong way, a sentence or text can lose meaning. As you read through, highlight each punctuation mark that you come across.
Determine whether they have been used appropriately and whether or not they make sense. If a punctuation mark does not serve the purpose, you can omit it or alter the sentence structure.
5. Identify the frequent errors
Different authors write in different ways and are prone to particular mistakes.
As you go through a document, you will notice frequent errors such us overuse of phrases, repetition of words and misspelling of a particular word among others.
To make the work easier, use the search feature in your word processor to identify those words and make the required changes. You could omit them or use their synonyms.
When proofreading, you need to give a lot of attention and mental focus to whatever you are doing.
Avoid distractions as much as possible. Get a quiet environment and maybe turn off the notifications from your phone.
It is also wise to take breaks especially if you cannot concentrate on this kind of work for a long period of time.
7. Use a grammar check
There are digital writing assistance tools such as Grammarly, that can make your proofreading task easier.
Once you are done proofreading, run the document through such a platform. You might notice some inconsistencies or errors that nee correction.
Proofreading resources that better your skills
Along with the tips outlined above, there are other resources that you can use to perfect your proofreading skills. You can find these resources online.
There are proofreading exercises that will enlighten you on punctuations, adverbs, propositions, nouns, sentence styles, spellings and so much more.
Luckily, you can find these platforms online for free. So, take advantage and practice until you make your proofreading skills perfect.
Here are links to online platforms that offer proofreading exercise:
- Proofread quiz
- Purdue OWL Exercises
- SfEP: Self-Test in Proofreading
- Skills Practice: Find the Mistakes
- UEfAP Exercises
You can also network with professionals in this field to learn what they do. Having people who understand what you do makes the learning process easy.
Content is very important but you run everything down the drain due to spelling mistakes, poor sentence structures, and wrong wording among other grammatical errors.
Thorough proofreading is vital for the production and delivery of professional and quality documents. It can help you to successfully communicate your intended message to your readers.
Effective proofreading enables you to create outstanding essays, winning marketing copies and CVs that will get you hired. It also maintains the reputation of your business.
Whenever you write or are given a proofreading job don’t be in a rush to submit it. Take your time to review the document and make the necessary corrections.
If you apply the tips outlined above, you will definitely improve on your proofreading skills. You will be in a position to produce clear, readable and interesting content.
- Why proofreading matters
- 15-question proofreading quiz (With Answers)
- What to look out for when proofreading.
- Proofreading tips
- Proofreading resources that better your skills