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Edit & Proofread My Writing: Techniques, Tips, & Tricks to Editing & Proofreading

Techniques, Tips, & Tricks to Editing & Proofreading

There are various techniques and tips to use when editing and proofreading your writing. Here are some proven ones:

If you're working with a Word document:

  • Turn on the Paragraph function. (If you don't know what this is, it's the button near the top of the page with a "paragraph" symbol on it. When it's on, you can see all the hidden codes, including spaces, in your document.)
  • Turn on the Track Changes function. (Again, if you aren't sure where this is, click on the drop-down menu "Tools"; mouse over "Track Changes" and click on "Highlight Changes." Then check the box labeled "Track Changes While Editing.")
  • Run both Spellcheck and Grammar Check (but don't take their word as gospel! Spellcheck isn't going to tell you when you've used "too" rather than "to"; they're both spelled correctly. And Word's grammar software wasn't written by a grammarian.)
  • Don't bother with using online grammar-checking software. (There's no substitute for a real human being looking over your writing.)

If you're working with a paper document:

  • Use a vividly colored pen to mark your changes. (This may sound dumb, but blue or black pen will blend in with the typed text and it'll be easy to miss following up on a correction.)

For either:

  • Have any style manuals, dictionaries, etc., at hand.
  • Read the text out loud or silently, one word at a time.
  • Read the text backwards.
  • Read the text one line at a time, covering up everything else with a sheet of paper or ruler.
  • Track each word with a fingertip or pencil tip.
  • Take your time!
  • Most importantly, if you can, have someone else read over your work. Editors use the expression "Love is blind" when referring to editing one's own work. After all, I know what I meant to say; can't you read my mind? <smile>