Proofreading Revisited

Do you think NASA launched rockets into orbit by setting up the launch pad, shrugging, and flipping a switch? Is a bridge built by one engineer without double checking calculations and everyone else silently hopes for the best as the first train crosses over the canyon? Does a surgeon finish the operation by supposing everything is fine and leaving the patient on the table without a medical team paying any attention?

No. Of course not. These tasks all require teams of professionals to accomplish.

Writing, however, is different. We are alone—at least in a major part of the process—when we write. We must put the words on the page. We must think through what we need or want to say. After you think you’re finished, though, there’s a final question: Am I really finished?

No. You’re not. You need to proofread your work!

A fantastic and helpful habit to develop is to finish your writing so that you have enough time to proofread your work. Setting your writing aside for a day or a few hours before you proofread can be a great help because it gives you some distance and changes your perspective. Read your words aloud so you can hear mistakes. How many times did you think you wrote something, but the words are not quite right on the page? Maybe one or some words are missing, maybe you erased only part of what you thought and now there are extra, confusing words on the page.

Have someone else read your writing aloud.

Listen carefully. If that person “trips” or is confused, then something is probably wrong with what you wrote. You can hear a run-on sentence going on and on too long. You can hear a clunky word choice that isn’t right. You can hear an incomplete thought cutting off.

None of this is a big secret, but so many people do not do this, and their writing could easily be so much better if they did. Keep that in mind! Always proofread, and watch your writing improve!

< Commas — A Big Hint

Commas cause a lot of problems, both because we do not always know exactly where…

The Dreaded Semicolon Is Totally Cool, part 1 >

If there is one type of punctuation that most commonly confuses writers of all ages,…