Proofreading

From ArticleWorld


The term proofreading means reading text in an effort to find, and correct, errors.

Printing and publishing

A manuscript that has been typeset, after copy editing, is called a proof copy. Proof copies often contain typographical, spelling, or punctuation errors. The proofreader checks the copy and marks errors. There are standard marks used in proof correction. The proof copy is then returned to the typesetter for correction and additional revisions. Proofreading now includes reviewing not only written text, but electronic documents as well. Many word processors include features specifically designed to make proofreading easier.

Proofreading tips

An aquired skill, proofreading requires practice. Approaches vary, but many proofreaders follow some of these guidelines:

  • When possible, proofread a hard copy.
  • Read out loud.
  • Proofread for only one type of error at a time.
  • Use a blank sheet of paper to slide down the page. This allows the proofreader to make a line-by-line review of the document.
  • Read what is actually on the page, not what is supposed to be there or what the reader assumes is there.
  • Read the document backwards, one sentence at a time.
  • Proofread the material more than once.
  • Slow down and read every word.
  • Take a break – Frequent breaks are key in staying alert.

Proofreading checklist

In addition to reviewing basic sentence structure and grammar, there are a some standard things a proofreader needs to look for.

  • Pronouns – Make sure each pronoun has a clear referent.
  • Punctuation – Check to be sure every sentence ends with a period, question mark, or exclamation point. Review all other punctuation and check any questionable use.
  • Capitalization – Make sure that names of persons, cities, countries, streets, and titles are capitalized.
  • Usage – Consult dictionary for any words you are unsure of.
  • Spelling – Check any word you have doubts about. Do not rely on spelling checkers.
  • Paragraph Structure – Be sure each paragraph includes a topic sentence that states the main idea, supporting sentences that explain the main idea, and a concluding sentence that summarizes the main idea.
  • Consistency of tense – Check to verify that consistent verb tense has been maintained.
  • Omissions – Check each sentence for omissions.