How To Proof Read Your Own Writing

In order to effectively communicate your message, it is important to know how to proof read.

The phrase "presentation is everything" applies to many aspects of life, including your own writing. Whether you're writing an essay for a class, a resume for a job, or just writing for pleasure, it is important to convey your ideas clearly. Mistakes in grammar, punctuation and spelling can detract from the message of the piece as a whole and cloud the reader's impression of the writer's authority and skill.

The most basic means of reviewing your work is electronically. Material typed on a word processing program can be easily spell-checked and grammar-checked for accuracy. These tools, however, do not sufficiently catch every error that can be made. A second review should be made by reading the work aloud to yourself. This can help you catch repitition, awkward phrases, and run-on sentences. Forcing yourself to speak the words aloud and hear how they sound can inspire you to change the flow of the paper or maybe add needed transitions. A final means of proofreading can be done by an unbiased party. Often ideas that are clear to you are not clearly expressed in your writing, and another person is necessary to indicate which areas need further clarification. This person should also be on the lookout for any type-o's or grammatical errors which may have slipped through the first rounds of proofreading.

Whenever possible, writing should be an ongoing project rather than a rushed attempt. In other words, if you can write your material and revise it the next day, your mind will be able to catch your mistakes more readily and you will add depth and coherence to your work. A third day (or fourth or fifth) can also be beneficial, depending on the material in question. Often fresh ideas and new insights can occur to you when you "sleep on it."

Once these steps have been followed, you can rest assured that your writing will be nearly flawless in terms of grammar, spelling, and hopefully clarity as well. The value of proofreading cannot be underestimated, as it reflects the writer's effort on that piece.

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