When it comes to proofreading, you usually ask a friend or co-worker to give your memo a once-over. But sometimes you’re in a hurry and you may not have time to seek another set of eyes.
Here are some tips to clean up your emails, reports, and social media posts when you’re in a pinch:
Run a spell-checker. Sure, we all know that relying solely on spell-check is not a good idea because it cannot discern errors of context, such as “weather/whether,” or “from/form.” However, spell-check identifies minor mistakes that, when left unattended, can make your paper look like crap. The key is to pay attention. For example, spell-check points out extra spaces and punctuation inconsistencies, like a period when there should be a comma (e.g., standard modern usage dictates one space between sentences, not two). Simple errors can kill your credibility, so consider running a spell-checker as your baseline cleaner-upper.
First things first. Be sure to reread, proofread, and read your headline and opening paragraph out loud. Your entire project is important, but a typo or misprint right at the beginning will set you off on the wrong foot.
Print (AKA, kill the trees). If you have access to a printer, go ahead and make a hard copy. Studies have shown that it is much easier to identify spelling and grammar errors on a piece of paper, rather than on a computer screen.
Go larger than life. If you don’t have a printer (or if you are worried about the trees), you will have to do your proofing on a computer monitor. Use the magnify function (labeled “Zoom,” or “View” in Microsoft Word) to increase what you see on the screen to 150% or larger. I typically increase my view to 165% on my 13” MacBook Pro laptop. The larger text allows me to identify and correct more inconsistencies in my content.
Of course, hiring a professional is the most practical and fool-proof answer to proofreading your work. An expert lends credibility to your writing and can save you time and energy. You hire a hairdresser to pretty-up your hairdo when you have a special event. You take your car to the mechanic when it’s time for repairs. Why not seek a grammar and spelling authority to present the best version of yourself on paper?
By: Jennifer K., On Demand Editor for editorr