Before you sit down and wonder how proofread your school or work assignment is, consider the following techniques. Each of these will guide you, whether you are trying to complete the assignment on your own or you are seeking proofread help.
- Check the Style Guidelines
- Read Slowly and Out Loud
- Enlist Help
- Focus on One Area at a Time
- Edit in a Distraction-Free Environment
Whether you are composing a school assignment or drafting a business memo, it is likely there are style guidelines already in place. School assignments typically use an established format like MLA- or APA- style, while business communications may use what is known as a ‘House Style’. When professional proofreaders wanted to review your work communicate with you, be sure they are aware of style specifics.
One of the most useful ways to edit your own work is to read it out loud. This helps you catch things that you normally would not, especially things that your spelling and grammar checker may have missed. This includes disagreement between your subjects and verbs, excessive use of adverbs or passive voice, or repeated or omitted words. Additionally, reading out loud gives you the chance to check readability. If you stumble over it as you read, your readers will likely struggle with the sentence as well.
Help for proofreading comes in many forms. You can look up techniques on the Internet, turn to an online writing services or an online proofreader, rely on a coworker or family member, or turn to an online tool. Remember, however, not to rely on any one source unless you are sure of their high level of professionalism and knowledge as a proofreader. This especially true of tools and friends/family that many not be able to catch every mistake.
One of the biggest mistake proofreaders make is trying to assess all the different elements of a piece of writing at once. The first time that you read through, focus on the clarity of your work. Change sentence structure and cut back on wordy sentences. The second time you edit your work, look for spelling and grammar errors. Finally, check for errors in punctuation and anything else you may have forgotten. This will take longer than reading through just once, but it is well worth it for the perfect piece of writing that results.
When you are distracted, whether it is your environment or your own mind, you are not going to do as thorough of a job as you normally would when editing written works. When you can, go to a room alone where it is relatively quiet. Do not worry about other tasks that you have coming up and do not multi-task. Multi-tasking involves focusing on other work, as well as recreationally multi-tasking by browsing social media or playing a game.
The above proofreading techniques can assist anyone, from people seeking jobs that read professional proofreaders wanted to students and business writers. They are something all writers and proofreaders should have knowledge of to perfect their latest writing assignment.