Proofreading as a Process 1. Proofreading is the LAST step of the writing process. When the writer is finished with the process of drafting and getting feedback, reorganizing, revising content, and editing for wordiness and awkwardness in expression the proofreading, searching out errors in grammar and mechanics, begins. 2. The goal of a proofreader is to become increasingly proficient at finding and correcting his or her own errors. 3. How to become an efficient proofreader: A. Learn your own pattern of errors-each one of us has our own “error fingerprint,” the two or three errors we make consistently. Become conscious of the errors you commonly make, and when you proofread, focus on finding and correcting these errors. B. Read the paper once for each error. For instance, if you tend to make subject-verb agreement errors, read the paper through looking only for this error, focusing your attention on the verbs of each sentence. This takes time, so make sure you have budgeted enough time for proofreading. In this management, to keep your attention focused, you will want to plan on proofreading short sections at one sitting. Plan on several short proofreading sessions, rather than on one long one. C. Never, Never Proofread off the computer screen!!! Never rely solely on the computer grammar and spelling check to find your errors! Always proofread the hard copy. D. Develop the habit of never turning in a paper even a minor homework assignment, without proofreading it. E. Let your paper get cold before you proofread it. The longer you let the paper “sit” after completing the last revision, the more efficient your proofreading will be because you are more detached from the meaning and better able to see your errors. F. Read your paper out loud to yourself or someone else. Your ear can often pick up errors, especially omitted words and word endings, that your eye skips over. G. Read your paper through one time looking only for spelling errors. Of course, if you knew how to spell word you wouldn’t have misspelled it, but try circling the words you have the slightest suspicion might be misspelled and then looking them up. H. Keep a list of the words you misspell. People misspell the same words over and over. A student may have ten spelling errors on her paper but she has actually just misspelled the same two words in different locations. If you become conscious of the words you misspell and keep a list of them in a handy place in your notebook, you can always consult your list. Soon, you will begin to learn the correct spelling. I. To help you focus on error recognition rather than meaning, going line by line, proofread from the bottom of each paragraph up or from the bottom of the paper to the top.