Proofreading as a Process

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
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.