10 essentials for proofreading your own work

You might view proofing as tedious, but it’s a crucial element of the writing process. Try these steps for keeping your text clear and powerful.

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Without it, your text looks sloppy and unfinished and can lead the reader to stop reading. However, what’s the best way to go about this challenging yet vital step in the writing process?

There’s no foolproof formula, and mistakes are bound to come up, but I’ve tried to make it easier for you by compiling these tips to simplify the process:

1. Use a spell-checker. A spell-checker can help you find repeated words or typos, preventing a tedious or error-ridden manuscript. However, remember that it is not always 100 percent reliable Don’t make the mistake of writing martial where you meant marital or, worse, orgasmic instead of organic—now, that would be awkward.

2. Look for one type of problem at a time. Read through the full text several times, but don’t tackle everything at once. Read first for overall message; then for sentence structure, grammar and syntax; then for word choice and spelling; and finally for punctuation. This way you are much more likely to find and fix the mistakes.

3. Unsure of how you can best find spelling errors? Read your text backward, singling out each word.

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