Before you discover a method that works best for you, play with various strategies. The proofreading process includes keeping the method structured and oriented so that in the shortest period of time you catch as many mistakes as possible.
- Don’t depend on spelling checkers altogether. These can be helpful instruments, but they are far from being foolproof. Spell checkers have a small vocabulary, but it might not even be in their mind for those terms that come up as misspelled. Furthermore, spell checkers will not detect misspellings that generate another correct term.
- Perhaps more troublesome may be syntax checkers. These programs work on a small set of rules, so they do not remember every error and make errors often. They also struggle to include detailed explanations to help you understand that a word should be updated. To help you recognize possible run-on phrases or too frequent use of the passive voice, you may want to use a grammar checker, so you need to be able to determine the input it offers.
- Separate the document into single words. This is another method to make you carefully read every sentence. After each period, simply press the return key so that a new sentence starts with every line. Interpret each sentence independently, checking for mistakes in syntax, punctuation, or pronunciation. If you’re dealing with a written copy, attempt to isolate the line you’re working on by using an invisible object like a ruler or a sheet of paper.
- Circle per dot for punctuation. It forces you to watch each one. When you circle back, ask yourself if the punctuation is correct.
Interpret backward across the paper.
- For correcting pronunciation, this approach is helpful. On the last page, begin with the last word and work your way back to the start, reading each word separately. Your emphasis will be solely on the pronunciation of each word, so content, punctuation, and grammar won’t make any sense.
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