This article assumes that you are looking to create near-perfect text, which means you want to spot as many of your errors as possible. If that is the case, then this article takes you through how it may be done. This article is not for people writing online content or blog posts, unless you, of course, really want your work to be perfect when you do it. Here are some tips and tools you can use to correct your spelling and grammatical errors.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Have Two Proofreads of Your Work
Your first proofread should look through for errors that you recognize. This should be done just after you run the spelling and grammar check that comes with your word processor. It is a time when you can examine each part of your essay sentence by sentence until you are sure that what you have written is what you meant to get across.
The second proofread should be a quick proofread to check for flow, constancy and weight. You are checking to see if it is easy to read and to see if it makes sense and flows easily. If there are places where you have to stop then it may be time to change a few things.
Step 2: Do Not Forget to Try a Few Different Proofreading Tools
The more proofreading tools you try then the higher the chances are that you are going to catch more of your mistakes. For example, the GrammarBase proofreader is going to show you different results from other online tools and from your word processor spelling and grammar tool.
Step 3: Try Reading It Aloud
Now that you have done most of the hard work, you can try reading the text out aloud. When you do this, you are looking for areas that are difficult to speak aloud. This may indicate a breakdown in your writing flow and should indicate that you need to revise that certain bit. You are also looking for confusing sentences and dangling propositions. You are looking for anything that does not sound clear. If it does not sound clear then there may be a problem with your writing. True, there may be a problem with the way you read it, but then if you have a problem with the way it is read, then won’t the other people that read it have a problem too?
Step 4: Leave It for a Few Days If You Can
The reason we struggle to proofread our own work is because we are too close to it. This affects us in two ways, with the first being that were are too emotionally invested in the piece and cannot see its flaws. If you really enjoyed writing the piece, then your happy feelings are where your emotional investment lies--making it harder for you to spot the flaws in the work.
If you did not have fun writing the text, then you are still emotionally invested, but are more invested in getting away from the text, which makes you a less effective proofreader because you want to get away from the text.
Secondly, you are too close to your work and you know it too well. We have a tendency to speed-read or skim read the work we have read, and this is the enemy of proofreading. If you leave the work for a few days then the feeling you have read it will die away a little so you can read it without skim reading. Plus, you are less emotionally invested in the work as time goes by because you start to forget it and the feelings you had when you wrote it. Ergo, you are then able to proofread your work more diligently.