Have you ever written something, sent it out to a publisher and then been horrified when you actually see it in print because of a glaring error? Sometimes, editors miss mistakes too. Whenever you write anything you intend to print, you should proofread it thoroughly yourself, before you send to a publisher.
The trouble with proofreading your own work is that you see what you expect to see, so you read what you think you wrote, and not necessarily what you did write. If you first and last letters of a word are in the correct order, you may not see typing errors in the middle of the word.
Firstly, use a good spell and grammar check. This will never pick up all of the errors, especially the words that sound the same but have different spellings for different meanings, such as there, their, and they’re. However, the spell check is a good place to start.
Secondly, read the work looking for the common errors you often make. If you are not sure about the meaning of particular words, use a dictionary and a thesaurus. If you commonly make mistakes in comma placement, print out the page and highlight every single comma. Re-read the comma rules one by one and check each highlighted comma on your printed document. If you can’t find a rule that explains why the comma is there, take it out. Although you can miss commas, overuse of commas is the more typical mistake to make.
Read your work aloud. This helps you to catch the awkward or repetitive phrases, as you tend to stumble over these passages as you read aloud.
Check your work for consistency. If you start spelling Summer with a capital, make sure you consistently spell it with a capital throughout the document. Don’t say 2 apples in one paragraph and three oranges in the next.
Finally, put your work aside for at least a couple of hours and reread it again before you send it off to the publisher. You must look at the work as if someone else has written it, not you to be a good proofreader. Assume you have made mistakes and look for them.
I hope this blog on proofreading articles helps. On a private note, I’m sorry I have been very quiet on this website lately – I’ve been sick and just been keeping up with the paying work. I’m getting better now, so hopefully, I’ll be more active on the forum again soon. Take care,