With the concentration and patience required for long-reads and highlighting any mistakes or inaccuracies in copy, proof readers are zen-like masters of the English language.
With the concentration and patience required for long-reads and highlighting any mistakes or inaccuracies in copy, proof readers are zen-like masters of the English language. Needless to say, it’s a great skill to have and is ideal for people with an excellent attention to detail, intricate understanding of grammar, and a keen eye for picking up on any grammatical mistakes.
There are a few tips to becoming an ace proof reader, so below we’ve given six of the best:
If you’re going to be proof reading and correcting on-screen then disconnect from the internet, hide your mobile phone, turn off the TV, and close the door. If you still don’t trust yourself not to get distracted, it’s a good idea to print your document off and go to a library or similar environment.
Don’t Read – Analyse
Ignore the content, ignore the story, and don’t read like you’re a fan. You should be analysing each sentence word by word in a scientific manner.
Read and Re-read For Clarity
Read sentences a number of times for a variety of different issues – check spelling and punctuation on one read-through of a sentence, then read it again to check grammar. Developing a methodical system of editing will lead to a more thorough proofing.
Keep a Notepad Handy
If you need to look a word up, check a date, or research a quote then make a quick note of the page number and come back to it later on. Stopping to research the issue there and then will lead to a loss of focus and throw you off your game.
Be Familiar With Frequent Mistakes
Every writer makes common mistakes the longer they’ve been writing a peace of work. Weather its mixing up their and there, too and to, or misplacing apostrophes, any writer switches off after a while and it’s up to the proof reader to be familiar with them and have an eagle eye for these mistakes. Did you spot the ones I just made?
Don’t Rely On Spell-check
If you’re proof reading on a computer, don’t overly rely on spell-check. While it can correct standard and accidental misspells, there are other spellings it will just assume are right. To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer, as the old saying goes.
If you’re an avid reader you might have a great sense of how a sentence should look, but without an understanding of basic grammar and punctuation rules then attempts at proof reading might fall a little flat. By attaining a recognised diploma you can refine your base skills and gain the qualification to start proof reading professionally.