Create a Checklist
Till you don’t know what to look for, you can't find it. A detailed checklist should cover things such as grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation. We would make sure to:
- Identify spelling and typographical errors
- Identify grammatical errors
- Highlight formatting errors or inconsistencies
- Identify errors in labeling of diagrams, charts or figures
- Highlight a sentence or paragraph that is overly complex or where the intended meaning is not clear
- Draw attention to repeated phrases or omitted words.
Let us give you a few examples:
- Verb tense consistency refers to keeping the same tense throughout a clause. We do not want to have one time-period being described in two different tenses.
- Confusion between American English and British English. Many words are spelled differently and the entire manuscript should follow only one language. We prefer British English in India.
- Maintain the same style: One writer might express the date as October 02, 2017 while another might write 02 October 2017.
- Acronyms are another thing that should be checked for consistency when proofreading. Do you use full stops in your acronyms or not (for example, I.T. or IT)? Most current style guides call for no punctuation in acronyms but you will want to choose your preferred style.
Tools like MS word spell checker, google docs, or any other software will provide a good cleaning exercise. Do not ever trust them fully.
Do a preliminary read
Read your document loudly. Mark anything odd or uncomfortable that you find.
Tackle each sentence one at a time. If you try to fix everything at once, you will miss errors. Focusing on a specific area such as spelling or punctuation can actually speed up the process and enhance your proofreading skills because you will be able to pinpoint specific mistakes faster. Reverse flow helps you read the text more objective
When you are working with longer documents, it helps to divide the time spent on proofreading into small time blocks.
Perform a final check