6 Quick and Easy Tips for Proofreading
  • 3-minute read
  • 1st November 2015

6 Quick and Easy Tips for Proofreading

Us professional proofreaders are a mysterious breed; a clan of brooding grammar obsessives and spelling pedants, forever clinging on to our red correction pens and shouting verbose slogans about not splitting infinitives.

Needless to say, this slavish devotion to typographical accuracy is why we’re so good at spotting mistakes that other people miss.

Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to be quite so enamored with editorial excellence to proofread your own writing. To help out, we’ve prepared six quick tips for proofreading that anyone can use.

6 Tips for Proofreading

Proofreading Tip #1 – Plan for Your Proofreading!

The biggest mistake people make when proofreading is not allowing enough time. Spotting errors in your work requires patience and care, so you need to make sure you set aside time to go back over everything before the deadline for your paper.

Proofreading Tip #2 – Vary Your Reading Style

Proofreading demands slow and careful reading. The best way to do this is often to print out your work and read it on paper rather than on a computer screen, which gives you “fresh eyes” and helps make errors stand out.

Alternatives include reading out loud, reading backwards (i.e., starting at the end of your paper) and even reading upside down!

Proofreading Tip #3 – Use Computers Wisely…

Although printing your work out can aid proofreading, your computer also has a few tricks up its plastic sleeves.

Spellcheckers, for example, can be invaluable. The “Find” function in Microsoft Word is a great time saver if you spot a repeated error, too, as it lets you quickly check for additional instances of the same kind.

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

Proofreading Tip #4 – …But Look Out for Homonyms!

The downside of computer spellcheckers is that they’ll miss erroneous homophones: i.e., words that sound the same as other words, so aren’t spelling mistakes, but are still not the word you intended.

Computers can also struggle with acronyms and proper nouns, so be especially careful to double check these.

Proofreading Tip #5 – Check Your References

Referencing is often where errors creep into otherwise excellent academic papers, so make sure that you check your citations before submitting.

The best way to do this is to compare your citations against a style guide provided by your college. Using a citation generator can help too.

Proofreading Tip #6 – Stay Fresh!

The last of our quick tips for proofreading is to stay fresh! Since concentration is vital to effective proofreading, it’s important to take a break now and then.

It can even be worth taking a day away from your paper before you start proofreading. The first step to good proofreading, then, is sometimes to do something else entirely!

Comments (1)
Alex Marsh
30th January 2021 at 18:50
This is such great information on translation. Loved reading this. I feel deeply about it and enjoy learning so much about it!!!

Get help from a language expert.

Try our proofreading services for free.

More Writing Tips?
  • 2-minute read

    Is I a Pronoun?

    Understanding the role of words in language is fundamental to effective communication. Pronouns are a...

  • 4-minute read

    Hyphen vs. Dash | Punctuation Tips

    Hyphens and dashes often cause confusion due to their similar appearance. However, these two punctuation...

  • 3-minute read

    Are Movies Italicized?

    If you’ve ever found yourself hesitating before handing in a paper because you’re wondering whether...

  • 2-minute read

    Loose or Lose? | Spelling Tips

    The question of whether to use loose or lose is common because we often confuse...

  • 2-minute read

    Can You Start a Sentence With Because?

    Have you ever wondered whether you can start a sentence with because? You may have...

  • 2-minute read

    Spelling Tips: Dreamt vs. Dreamed

    Dreamt and dreamed can both be the past tense of the verb dream. Generally, both...

Trusted by thousands of leading
institutions and businesses

Make sure your writing is the best it can be with our expert English proofreading and editing.