Every communication in the form of a written message requires a decent level of proofreading. Although it may look like a small task, it goes a long way in helping you send your message across accurately. To make sure that your written piece of communication, be it online or offline, has been written impeccably, you must put in some effort and time in proofreading it. Hence, the importance of proofreading cannot be overlooked.
Proofreading is often confused with spelling and grammar check. But, in reality, it is way more than that. So, here’s a list of things that you should keep in mind while you are proofreading online or offline to make sure what you have written, is correctly understood.
Start with spelling and grammar check
This is one of the most important parts proofreading and thankfully, the most commonly followed and understood. After all, even a small spelling error can sabotage your image even before you have met the receiver in person. If you are writing online, make use of spell-check tools, and when you are writing offline, make sure you read and then re-read every word carefully. Check for periods, commas, and other punctuation. For grammar check, there are several online tools available. Use them to check the grammatical accuracy and incorporate all the suggested changes. While proofreading, you must also check for words that are easily confused and misspelled. They can leave behind a really bad impression.
Move to proper nouns
Proper nouns are one of the most easily and commonly overlooked aspects of writing. Therefore, it is important you check them thoroughly while proofreading. Read all the proper nouns properly and make sure that all of them are spelled correctly. If a person you are referring to in your write-up has a name with complicated spellings, make sure you do a proper Google search before sending the final version. If it is official communication, you can also refer to an employee directory for the spelling. Job titles, locations, and company names should also be checked for their spellings. Some companies can have unique rules about the way they write the name. For example, some words in the name can be written in lowercase only or some words may not have space between them. Therefore, while you are proofreading, make sure that you pay attention to these tiny details also.
Structure of the sentences
The length of your sentences matters. You don’t want the reader to lose interest and attention while reading your message. Therefore, short and crisp sentences always make strong communication. While you are proofreading, you will come across sentences that are redundant. Try to get rid off them. When you break things up into smaller sentences, it becomes more readable and there you are less likely to confuse the reader. Many writers use semicolons in their sentences. That is not the correct way to go about it either. To make your message more interesting and readable, eliminate as many semicolons as possible. Instead, try to make more standalone sentences.
Make sure your write-up is consistent
If your write-up consists of many numbers, symbols, or contractions, make sure that you are consistent. Like, if you use ‘%’ instead of writing ‘percent’, make sure that you use the symbol throughout the article. While proofreading, you must make sure that you do not overlook this problem. It can be easy to overlook consistency issues in your article since neither of the two would be wrong.
Recheck the idioms
Some writers believe in writing a flowery language to put across their message in a more likable way. In such cases, the use of idioms is very common. However, it is very important that you know the correct use of idioms. If you are proofreading online, you must always refer to Google to be double sure with your idiom usage. Also, even while checking online, make sure that you refer to multiple sources.
Maintain the flow of the article
When you write a piece, towards the end of it you start feeling confused or may even start digressing. But, proofreading and editing gives you the opportunity to rectify the overall flow of the piece. You can redo the segment where you might have started digressing from the topic. This will help you maintain a consistent tonality of the article.