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How To,  Writing Tips

How To Proofread Your Writing

Proofreading can seem daunting—especially if you have a large word count. It can seem that no matter how many times you look over your work, you always miss something. And, unfortunately, no matter how observant you are, some mistakes will slip through.

Luckily you can minimize these slips by being thorough, patient, and focused when proofreading.

Keep reading to learn how to proofread your writing.

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Proofreading Dos & Donts

Do

  • take breaks
  • go slow
  • be patient
  • get help from others

Donts

  • rely on spellcheck programs and software
  • take on too much at once

How To Proofread

Once you have finished writing your story, essay, article, etc., it’s time to begin proofreading.

It’s important to give yourself enough time to properly and thoroughly look over your work, so try not to procrastinate.

Use a Spell-Checking Program

In my donts section, I mentioned not to rely on these programs, but they are a great way to catch common mistakes.

I love using Grammarly to check spelling and grammar mistakes.

Grammarly is free to use, but they do offer a paid subscription that will offer a variety of extra changes. However, I use the free version and think that’s enough for most circumstances.

It’s important to look over the suggested changes, though, because these programs aren’t always right. Don’t make the changes it suggests simply because it’s telling you they’re wrong.

Even though programs and software like Grammarly aren’t always 100% correct, they are a great way to bring possible mistakes to your attention.

Deep Dive

Once you’ve gotten the most obvious mistakes out of the way, it’s time to really look over your writing.

Take things slow and go paragraph by paragraph. Read it aloud and make any necessary changes.

Do a little each day until you’ve looked through it all. If you do too much at once, you’ll start missing mistakes.

There are a bunch of methods for marking your mistakes. You can highlight them and fix everything later, or you can make markings and notes indicating what needs to be fixed.

You can also just fix the mistakes as you find them, though this may take longer.

Get an Outside Perspective

Having someone else read through your writing is a great way to catch any last mistakes.

You’ve looked at your work for a while at this point. And, after so much repetition, your brain tends to see what’s supposed to be there instead of what’s actually there.

So, if you can get a friend or family member to do a quick read-through, they may a few mistakes you missed.

If you don’t have anyone to read through your work, you can always hire an editor or proofreader.

However, if hiring someone isn’t possible and you don’t have anyone to look over your work, I recommend running it through Grammarly one last time.

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