How to proofread your own work

No matter how good of a writer you are, we all struggle with proofing and editing our own work. This is because we are so familiar with the text that our brain can skip over the mistakes. However, I have a few tips and tricks to help you tidy up your work and give you your best  copy.

1.  When you have finished writing don’t look at your work for as long possible. Whether this is an hour, a day, a week, or a fortnight you need to see your document with fresh eyes.

2.  Make sure your language settings are in the correct mode of English be it British English, American English, Australian English, Irish English, Canadian English, just make sure you are writing in the correct language.

3.  Run the spellcheck and anything you do not understand look up. Usually a quick google will work here such as “practice or practise” or “effect or affect”; there are lots of good grammar guides out there, just make sure you are using the correct one for your region.

4.  Download Grammarly. The basic version is free and will highlight basic mistakes or phrases you might want to reconsider. However, do not just accept its suggestions without question as it may be wrong; context is everything.

5.  Read your work aloud. I cannot count the amount of times this has worked for me. When reading something aloud you can hear if it makes sense and an awkward turn of phrase may not be apparent on paper. When you hear a mistake your brain will flag it, “something isn’t right here” and you will need to go back and look at it again. Word 2016 has a handy new feature where it will read out your document for you, so you can multitask!

6.  Quotations and referencing. If you are writing an academic work, look back over your quotations again and make sure they are word perfect and cited properly.

7.  Make sure your formatting and writing style are consistent. For example, have you written the number 1 as a word in the first paragraph and as a figure in the third paragraph? Is “cooperate” hyphenated in one sentence but not in another? Is the font and font size consistent throughout?

8.  Get someone else to read your work (preferably someone who has a good grasp of English spelling and grammar). 

9.  And, if you can’t be bothered with all of that, you can always get in touch with your friendly proofreader, BestCopy Brí, who will do it all for you!

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