Cursive writing may be going extinct, but hopefully good grammar and spelling will never go out of style. If you have trouble catching your typos, writing blogger Ghostwriter Dad offers a list of tips to sharpen your proofreading skills.
Photo by Julia Manzerova.
Fair or not, you are judged by how well you write. Whether it's a teacher grading an assignment, a potential employer reviewing your résumé, or a grammar nazi reading your blog post, you lose points with your audience for every mistake you make. Spell check is a good first line of defence, but it can't catch everything.
The most effective way to improve your proofreading is to be an objective observer. When you're too close to what you're reviewing, you're more likely to read what you meant to say than what you actually wrote. That's why it's always best, if possible, to have someone else review your work (number 10 on the list). When you absolutely must proof your own work, the other nine tips will help you take a step back and see what you've written in a fresh way to increase the likelihood that you'll spot your own typos.
One classic favourite: reading aloud.
Even if it's just your own solitary voice bouncing against the walls of an otherwise empty room, you should ALWAYS read your work out loud. Reading out loud will help to highlight any errors, missing words or lapses in syntax you might have otherwise missed.
I would add that using a text-to-speech program to have the text read to you can be helpful as well. The speech engine will read exactly what you've written without auto-correcting mistakes that you may subconsciously gloss over. That, coupled with the unfamiliarity of a voice other than your own, tends to make errors pop right out at you.
Do you have your own tips and tricks for checking your work or do you think proofreading is just as outdated as cursive writing? Let us know in the comments (but give 'em a once-over before you submit).
10 Quick Tips for Powerful Proofreading [Ghostwriter Dad]