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8 Proofreading Tricks For Detecting Grammar and Spelling Errors In Your Article Submissions
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Have you ever worked really hard on an article, reviewed it backwards and forwards, and then after submitting it been shocked to discovered one glaring error after the next?

You think, “What happened? I know I read that article a million times! Why didn’t I see these obvious errors?”

You can take comfort in the fact that it’s probably not you–no, you’re not losing your mind! Rather, there is a technical reason why it is very hard for a person to write an article and then go directly into proofreading it.

We run into trouble with proofreading because we are so used to looking  at the article that we almost know it by heart. Then when we try to proofread, our minds play tricks on us, and we end up reading things that aren’t there or overlooking errors that are.

So, how do you get around this? Here are 8 tips to help you accurately proofread your articles:

1 – Change the font and the color of your finished article that you want to proofread.

I do this, and remarkably it works. The idea is to fool your brain into thinking that it is reading an unfamiliar piece of content, rather than the one that you’ve read so many times that you’ve almost committed it to memory. If your article appears unfamiliar to you, you’ll have an easier time spotting errors.

I change my font to something that is easy to read, but still slightly different than the font I wrote the article in. Then, I change my text color to purple–I just happen to be going through a purple phase right now, but any color that is drastically different than the original will work.

2 – Proofread a printed version of your article.

Yes, that’s right–actually print your article on a piece of paper so that you can hold it in your hands. This is another method for helping you to distance your mind from the article that you’re so familiar with, so that you’ll have the objectivity to spot grammar and spelling issues.

3 – Read your article out loud, slowly and deliberately, making sure to pronounce each word.

By reading the article out loud in a deliberate way, you force yourself to deal with the article as it is really written and not how you imagine or remember it to be.

4 – Read your article backwards.

I do this one also, especially if I’ve been working on the article for a while, and I haven’t taken a break from it before proofing. You simply read the last sentence of the article first, then the second to last, and on up. You’re basically taking one sentence at a time out of context, so it makes you really consider whether each sentence has proper grammar and spelling.

5 – Take time away from your article.

If the problem is being overly familiar with the piece of content that you’re trying to edit, then the natural solution is to get away from it for a while so that when you do come back to read it, it feels like you’re reading it for the first time. A 24 hour break is usually sufficient to get the necessary distance.

6 Â – Get a buddy with good writing skills to proofread your work.

Having another person proofread your work is ideal, but I know that many of us are working on our own and don’t have anyone to consult. If you do happen to have a person with sharp editing skills nearby though, by all means ask for his or her help.

7 – Each word has to earn its spot in your article.

When you look over your article, ask yourself “Does my article really need this sentence to make sense?” or “What does this sentence contribute to the overall message of my article?” Being aware that each sentence and word needs to have a purpose in your article will help you to streamline your content and make your overall message more clear.

8 – Write as simply as possible.

Some people have larger vocabularies than others, but if you want to make your article more helpful to more people, try to write in a way that most people can understand without breaking out their dictionaries. Did you know that newspapers are written on a 2nd grade reading level? Keep that in mind when you’re writing your article.

Proofreading Pays Off

Proofreading your articles is absolutely essential because once your article is published on someone’s website, you may not be able to make any corrections at that point. The errors are just out there for all the world to see. Also, an overabundance of errors may cause your article to be declined outright at the publisher level.

Proofreading ensures that you submit an article that you’re proud to attach your name to. Which of these 8 tips do you already do, and which will you try with your next article?

Also, do you have any proofreading tips to add to this list?


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5 Responses to “8 Proofreading Tricks For Detecting Grammar and Spelling Errors In Your Article Submissions”

  1. Steve, I love the tip about changing the color and font — as a professional resume writer AND a pro blogger, I’m always looking for new ways to ensure perfection. This is a winner! It’s also important the folks understand what they’re proofing FOR when it comes to grammar and spelling, too. Many people don’t know the rules or what to look for. I did a blog called “7 Spelling and Grammar Mistakes that Make You Look Dumb” a while back — it went viral, which showed me people are still passionate about doing it right! (Or at least not looking dumb ;^) — Check it out at http://work.lifegoesstrong.com/7-spelling-and-grammar-errors-make-you-look-dumb

  2. Hey Steve another good piece from you as usual…well I follow points 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8…even before reading this article…and that “matching style” that you always use while writing your all articles is the real magic you put in…”a sense of connectivity” with all readers is your prime personality trait :)

  3. Steve Shaw says:

    @Leslie Ayres, The Real Job Guru: Thank you Leslie–I enjoyed that post or yours. Surely everyone needs to be reminded of that info.

  4. Fe Janairo says:

    Thanks for the tips. Trick number 1 is something new to me. I’ll try that.

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