If you’re producing any kind of professional writing, proper proofreading is essential. As a freelance copywriter, nothing looks worse than if I make a basic error or leave in a typo. So here are
my tips for getting it right
- It’s a tough job. So get someone else to do it. Especially as a fresh pair of eyes are more likely to pick up what you’ve missed. Once you’ve written something down, it can be hard to read what you’ve written clearly. Instead, you only see what you intended to say.
- Failing that, wait a few hours or preferably till the next day after you’ve written it before you proofread your own work.
- Avoid distractions – try and proofread in a quiet environment.
- Read what’s written aloud to help spot missing words or dodgy phrases.
- Common errors include inconsistencies of style, changing tenses, extra spaces, different font sizes, irregular line spacing or other formatting and repeated full stops.
- Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Are you really clear in what you’re saying?
- Be suspicious of every word if you want to catch all the mistakes.
- If you tend to make the same errors, be extra careful when you’re checking those particular words or phrases.
- Check and check again. Professional editors may proofread a piece up to ten times.
- Be especially vigilant when it comes to any text in capital letters – it’s harder to spot upper case errors.
- Print out pages for the final check – it’s often easier to see errors on paper than on screen.
- Never, ever just rely on your computer’s spell checker. For one thing, it can’t work out what spelling is right for a particular context – “two” or “too”, “who’s” or “whose” and so on.
Happy poofreading! (Whoops.)
© Peter Wise