How to Proofread Tutorial: 10 Proofreading Techniques They Didn’t Teach You in School

so what’s the big deal about proofreading good riding is about a lot more than good grammar just like basketball is about more than good dribbling so why this obsession over typos misspellings and grammar slips two reasons first judgment someone who doesn’t know a dangling participle from a dangling dinner guests can spot a typo that typo can then be used to negatively judge you your writing even your intelligence don’t believe me here’s an article from the Harvard Business Review entitled I won’t hire people who use poor grammar author Kyle wings as CEO of iFixit this CEO writes people who mix up their it’s and its deserve to be passed over for a job even if they are otherwise qualified for the position I have a zero tolerance approach to grammar mistakes and make people look stupid although there’s no known relationship between intelligence and apostrophes that fact obviously does not prevent others or their employers or teachers from judging you based on easy to spot surface errors now the second reason might surprise you it’s impossible to us to need to correct that typo impossible to accurately proofread your own writing this fact makes it likely you’ll leave some type of error unless you take active measures why can’t you proofread your own work accurately you see when writing your mind creates a mental image of meaning that you then attempt to transfer to the page the catch is while your mental image may be perfect what ends up on the page may not be when someone else reads your writing the process happens in Reverse the reader looks first at the words on the page and then tries to construct a mental image of meaning what a difference you the writer have lying on top of the page like a piece of waxed paper your perfect mental image which can prevent you from seeing clearly what’s there the reader on the other hand sees the cold reality of the page black squiggles on a white background without any filter that’s why the first proofreading tip is to ice it put the riding away until your mental image has faded and no longer obscures the reality what’s on the page but the problem with Ison is time it can take days or even weeks for that mental image to fade enough few people least of all students have that time so we need tools we can apply immediately one of the best is text-to-speech these software programs let you hear what you wrote in someone else’s voice in other words you get to process your writing as a listener not its creator there are literally hundreds of free text-to-speech programs out there that do the job our favorite is natural reader calm it’s free web-based that makes Nothing download and offers drag-and-drop simplicity for your documents natural reader can read ten types of documents has 18 English voices and speed control and it’s free version many other text-to-speech programs can be found at review sites like techradar.com and elearning com but the bottom line is listening to someone else read your document helps you know what is and isn’t on the page another exciting technology for writers is the new AI base spelling style and grammar checkers wait a minute you say Microsoft Word has offered its built-in Auto checker since 1995 and you’re right words checker uses simple algorithms based on matching today’s advanced spelling and style checkers use artificial intelligence to understand the context of what is written to make predictions and give insights about your writing there’s no comparison between the simple spell checkers of old and today’s advanced systems now currently there are two of these products grammarly and ginger let’s look at grammarly the most widely used in the most heavily marketed grammarly is integrated into more platforms than any other product by default it’s all on always checking without you having to do anything gram relief stated goal is to quote check everything you write on a computer and it pretty much does grammarly not only checks word processed documents it’s also at work in every email client you have whether Gmail or outlook and also checks your blackboard discussion board post and automatically checks Facebook post Instagram snapchat Google Docs Twitter YouTube and many other social media platforms now and in the future because of its integration with github the leading software development platform speaking of software development grammerly even checks code grammarly has free browser extensions for Chrome Firefox Safari and edge but grammerly also teaches for example rather than merely accepting a correction the user can choose to open grammar Lee’s card about the error these cards contain a full explanation of the era with incorrect examples being corrected in other words grammar Lee can function as your individualized grammar and style handbook and that is a great feature for students the drawback is price the premium versions of both our monthly 30 bucks quarterly 20 bucks annually 1166 per month which might be worth it while you’re in school what about the other spelling and grammar checkers out there paper rater Reverso noun + after the deadline Scribbins grammar check virtual writing tutor bib me spell check plus and probably others all required that you first go to their website and then transfer your document to the space provided all of the results appear at the same time and can be confusing to navigate in a long document but most importantly each change must be made manually in the original document unlike grammar length which is a simple click away to correct your error now this next tip is as down-to-earth as a pair of eyeballs those fancy algorithms and grammar Lee and ginger they’re simply attempt to replace the human mind so this tip is partner up get a second pair of eyeballs let’s talk about your partner pacifically how to choose one and use one now of course it’d be great if this person had some training and really that’s not required simply have your partner read your work out loud preferably using a hard copy the partner should simply note anything typo suspected misspelling unclear confusing wording anything that gets in the way of their reading and understanding of what you wrote it’s that simple of course you’ll want to return the favor by proving your partner’s work doing so is not only good manners it’ll train you to be a better writer as you learn to look at writing more objectively now this next set of tips all have to do with making physical changes to the text in order to distort and disrupt that mental image that prevents you from seeing the reality of what you wrote first within the proofreading stage print out your work as hardcopy why hundreds of studies since the 1990s have compared reading from a screen versus reading hardcopy print the conclusions are on average reading from the screen is harder about 27% harder and uses more mental resources making you tire more quickly second reading from a screen is less efficient we see in comprehend less and finally reading from the screen is less enjoyable which can lead to avoidance simply put the evidence is proof reading a hard copy of a text is easier and more accurate than on the screen so once you have that hard copy printed out here are two more tips on what to do with them first highlight one line at a time with a reading ruler or a folded piece of paper or a real ruler this technique forces you to see what’s on the page rather than what’s in your mind the second thing you can do on the hardcopy is to circle all the punctuation and read these circles not only force to check correct punctuation circling the punctuation is another way of breaking up the text defeating your mental image and giving you a better chance of seeing what’s actually there but what if printing out the document isn’t an option if proofing on the screen is your only option there are three techniques you can use to give yourself an edge without having to use one first you can increase the size of the text on the screen if your document is using 12 point type enlarge it to 24 the enlarged letters will cause your mind to make a new mental map of the document the same goes for changing the font when you change the font you’ll produce new glyphs each letter is called a glyph and is treated by your mind as an image so having to interpret new and large glyphs further erodes the original mental image giving you a better chance of spotting typos misspellings and other unintentional mistakes third you can change the column layout of the document in Word click on layout then columns choose to divide up your document into two or three columns make sure your text is left-aligned only don’t use full left/right justification the last tips are when proofing it’s important to read your work slowly and out loud because doing so helps defeat mental prediction and mental mapping as you focus on each individual word as a matter of fact train proof readers do even more train proof readers read and syllables not words so instead of saying the word proofing a train proof reader would say proof aim instead of syllable a train proof reader would say outloud sill la bull to make sure all the ELLs are there because proofreading comes last in the writing process at the deadline when it’s time to turn it in we tend to give our documents a final quick read maybe a spell check as you’ve seen in this presentation accurate proofreading requires patience and a clear process you’re writing deserves both your riding is always a direct reflection of you don’t be afraid to make it the best you can be you

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