Proofreading And Editing
Although among the last stages of completing an assignment, proofreading and editing plays a significant role to the success of completing a written text. In fact, where possible, it is recommended that a different person from the author proofreads and edits. However, where this is not possible, the following guidelines are helpful in proofreading and editing.
a) Proofread and edit for one mistake per reading
To do these effectively, a checklist on what will be corrected is recommended. For example,
Punctuation– are different punctuation marks used correctly, are there run-on sentences etc
Formatting and citation– has the recommended formatting style been from the beginning to the end. Is in-text citation correctly done?
Quotations– are quotations properly and accurately written. Mistyping a quote is very easy.
Paragraphs– Is there uniformity in paragraphs or some are big blocks. In addition, is there a smooth transition from one paragraph to another?
b) Do not rely only on programs installed in a computer
Programs such as spell-check and grammar-check are helpful but they cannot correct some errors, for example use of a wrong vocabulary.
c) Read the paper backwards
Reading a paper backwards causes the reader to focus on the text as opposed to ideas, thereby, making it easy to identify mistakes when proofreading and editing.
d) Read the text aloud
This is a good medicine to noticing errors as opposed to reading silently. In fact, it works better when the editor or proofreader is proofreading and editing on a hardcopy.
e) Take a break
Chances that one will notice his/her mistakes when proofreading and editing a text that is still fresh in his/her mind are very slim. One of the reasons is because the brain unconsciously focuses on the ideas as opposed to the text. However, a break for a day or two helps one to develop a critical and fresh eye that can easily notice mistakes.