10 Proofreading Tips for Expert Authors

Say Goodbye to Grammatical Errors and Spelling Mistakes

If your article has grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, it doesn’t matter if the content is original and valuable. If your readers (i.e. your audience, prospective publishers, and even your competitors) find an error, they will automatically focus on the mistake and your credibility will slip away.

Proofreading is an incredible step to preserving your credibility and it keeps your reader’s attention positively focused on you, your original content, and your quality message.

Here are 10 proofreading tips to keep your articles blemish-free:

  1. Brush Up: You may consider getting a grammar guide, subscribing to grammar newsletters, or even enrolling in an English Grammar course. Continue exploring the English language, discovering every nuance to improve your articles, and applying your findings in your articles.
     
  2. Breathing Room: Before you proofread, walk away from the article. Proofread after giving the article and you a little breathing room.
     
  3. Style Guide: From proper capitalization to accurate citations, style guides such as APA, Chicago, MLA, The Associate Press, etc. are used to ensure writing is consistent and credible.
     
  4. Perspective: Change the format/environment you originally wrote the article. For example: change your font, read from the bottom-up, change your screen size, etc. to focus on areas you may unknowingly skip over.
     
  5. Spell Check: Most spell check options (i.e. from Microsoft Word, Internet Browser add-ons, etc.) will indicate spelling (red underline), grammatical (green underline), and formatting (blue underline) errors. (NOTE: Spell checkers are not fail-safe. A critical human eye is more powerful and more accurate than many spell checkers.)
     
  6. Remove Emoticons: While emoticons and text-speak have their place in the instant messaging world (e.g. LOL b4 u go dont u hve 2 rite ur arcles? :P), not all audiences understand it. Also, text-speak is too informal for many audiences.
     
  7. Misused Words: Keep an eye out for commonly misused words (many of which are homophones), e.g. affect vs. effect, loose vs. lose, its vs. it’s, ensure vs. insure, etc.
     
  8. Punctuation Marks: Take a bird’s eye view of your article. Consider the formatting and punctuation: is there too much indicating clipped sentences or too little indicating run-on sentences? Also, avoid excessive exclamation points or overdone ellipses and watch out for missing or inappropriately used apostrophes.
     
  9. Error Wall of Shame: Keep a proofreading checklist of common blunders and areas you (or others) have caught before. Some people will hang their blunders in their writing space as reminders. Others will create a checklist and search for the errors. Actively learning your errors should prevent them from occurring again.
     
  10. Question Everything: If something sounds or appears odd to you, trust your instincts and ask for a second opinion or look it up. Ask someone to review your articles to catch errors and other discrepancies you might have missed.

Once you’ve incorporated these methods into your article writing routine, you will find your skills strengthen and eventually take less time. Try out any or all of these methods today and discover how they will actually help you improve your authority, save you time, and maintain your credibility.

What’s your favorite proofreading method? Let us know by sharing it in the comments section below!

44 Comments »


1
asif lone writes:

Excellent tips! Must for writers who really value their writing passion.

Comment provided June 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM

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2
Martin Helm writes:

That’s a great article with some valuable advice. May I add a few brief points?

Spell checkers only check that the word exists in the dictionary; they cannot distinguish between homophones like their, there, and they’re. All 3 words sound the same, all are correctly spelled, but in every single case two of them are wrong.

The same with your, you’re and yore.

Incidentally, please don’t shout at me, but the words in your article (point 7) are homophones not homonyms. Homonyms are words which are spelled the same but have different meanings, like ‘subject’, ‘set’, ‘object’ and so on. It could well be that US English differs from UK English on this, however, in which case I apologise.

If you want articles, books (or whatever) written or proof-read in UK English, I can heartily recommend my website. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Comment provided June 15, 2012 at 10:16 AM

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Martin –

Thanks for the input! :-) You are correct regarding our use of homonyms vs. homophones. You’ll note that it’s been changed in the post.

– Marc

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3
Kat Helms writes:

Changing perspective is a good tip – resize your browser and make the text flow differently.

If you’ve ever seen that simple puzzle before:

“What is the
the matter with
this sentence”

Lots of people in a hurry don’t see the repeated ‘the’ since it’s over a line break.

Comment provided June 15, 2012 at 10:56 AM

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Veronique writes:

You’re right! I didnt see it.

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4
Linda writes:

Good afternoon!

With respect to #5, spell check, I note that these tend to give Americanised spellings not English. Being a Brit. I have a strong penchant for my native spellings over that of friends overseas.

I hope you don’t mind me pointing this out.
Kind regards.
L

Comment provided June 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM

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Saidou writes:

Hi Linda,

I agree with your observation, especially in my context. I am a Translator-Interpreter in Cameroon, Africa, and some of our officials here in Cameroon have preferences: the francophone bosses prefer American spellings while the Anglophone bosses prefer Brit. So you can see that the spell check may need to be spell-checked here

Saidou.

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5

You can even use Microsoft word! Ms Word highlights any grammer or spelling errors in your articles.

Comment provided June 15, 2012 at 11:52 AM

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6
Martin Helm writes:

Hi Linda,

If you’re using MS Word you can change the spell check language from US English to UK English or vice versa. Hope that helps.

Kind regards

Martin

Comment provided June 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

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Linda writes:

Thanks, Martin.

I write directly to wordpress, so I’ll have to look to see if there is such a facility there.

Since posting my comment, I have installed an email delivery system on my blog and (using a different email address) have subscribed to my own blog.

Vanity? No – another way of checking my grammar and spellings. I couldn’t believe that despite checking the original draft and preview facility numerous times, I still found a ‘typo’ when I read the email version!

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7
Samuel Bani Dauda writes:

This is basically for me. I use Microsoft word to type my articles, but from my observation, MS Word highlights only spelling errors but not grammatical errors. Or is there any special application to that? I need to know, please.

Comment provided June 15, 2012 at 4:33 PM

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8
Graham Drew writes:

Thankyou these are some excellent tips which I shall be using to improve my standard of work,thanks for sharing.

Kind Regards Graham Drew

Comment provided June 15, 2012 at 7:46 PM

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9
Margie Riley writes:

Love it! Thank you. I was delighted to read recently that grammar is going to be re-introduced into the Australian school curriculum. Yes, imagine that – it was removed once … Hopefully the children will learn the basics and, if they’re interested, then they can learn more. Keep up the good work.

Oh yes, and another tip, if there’s time, is to ask someone else to proofread your work. Since we would never make a mistake (would we?) we often don’t see our own.

Comment provided June 15, 2012 at 10:48 PM

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10
Zahra J. Saleh writes:

Good feedbacks to my inquiry. However, yes we a proof-reading software as it is difficult to get someone who reads your writing after you in these day to the timing problems in everywhere.

Comment provided June 16, 2012 at 1:37 AM

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11
Vijay Khosla writes:

A valuable article. Considering everything meets the requisite steps to recheck one’s written article, yet, I would recommend to follow step 1 & 2 twice.
In my opinion, the 2nd step is most important and I follow it religiously!

Comment provided June 16, 2012 at 1:59 AM

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12
priyajit singh writes:

A worth reading article. I think I have to work more on given points.

Comment provided June 16, 2012 at 10:23 PM

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13

Great tips and I ‘ll try to improve my skills.

Comment provided June 18, 2012 at 6:25 AM

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14
Elena writes:

I do agree wholeheartedly that proofreading is one of the essential tools in article writing. You need to find a quiet place because it take a lot of focusing on your content to catch any errors. However, thank you for all your assistance in helping us be better writers.

Comment provided June 18, 2012 at 3:43 PM

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15

I’ll right away grasp your rss feed as I can not find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me recognise in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

Comment provided June 19, 2012 at 1:11 AM

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You can subscribe to our blog alerts and newsletter by putting your email address in the field in the upper-right corner of any blog page and clicking on the green “Subscribe” button.

– Marc

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16

You can also subscribe EzineArticles atom feed and get updates on Google Reader.

Comment provided June 20, 2012 at 9:23 AM

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17
Randall Magwood writes:

I think people get aggressive with writing so much that proofreading simply goes out of the window… especially if you write articles everyday. Traditional grammar rules aren’t taken into consideration, however most writers here on EzineArticles still produce a good quality article.

Comment provided June 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM

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18
Carl Potts writes:

Thanks Linda I generally write out my copy on paper first then type it out, in this way proofreading is built into my writing, as far as I’m aware the Oxford style guide is the British equivalent of your Chicago Manual of Style

Comment provided June 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM

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19
Pulin Dave writes:

Hi Marc,
Do you know any software which highlight grammer mistakes? I write my blogs in word and then paste it to Article directory. This way Microsoft word can rectify any spelling mistake if i may have! Is this a right way to do it?
Thanks

Comment provided July 13, 2012 at 2:21 PM

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Hi Pulin,

If you wish to write your articles in your My.EzineArticles interface all you need to do is turn your WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor on. Once this has been done, there is an ABC spell-check button that will review your article for any grammatical errors and will highlight these for you.

~Vanessa

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Pulin Dave writes:

Hi Vanessa,
Thanks for your message.Appreciate it
Where can we find non-copyright images for our blogs?

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20
lisa writes:

Another great article. A friend recently sent me to Grammarily.com as another resource to help with proofreading. I haven’t yet used it but it might be helpful to some!

Comment provided July 13, 2012 at 8:01 PM

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Pulin Dave writes:

Hi Lisa,
Actually I am looking for proofreading software where we can rectify our mistake and create error free content. The link which you have put in its not working it seems.Do you have any other website?Also if you can please help me out where to find non-copyright images for our blogs.

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lisa writes:

Sorry! Try http://www.grammarly.com/

I should have proofread it!

Have you tried http://www.sxc.hu/ for free images? It is the free version of Istock. Istock has great images as well for a fee.

Good luck!

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Pulin Dave writes:

Thanks Lisa…

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21

While Microsoft Word is not complete or perfect it highlights (by red, green and blue underlines) the vast majority of errors — spelling, grammar and format. After several rounds of experience if you add the words it misses the speller becomes quite efficient and will save a lot of work. I have written almost three dozen novels (under several pen names) and re-read each one repeatedly. I try to catch each error and sometimes, even after five or six readings, I will still find one or two (usually missing terminal letters). I also proof read for the content and impact of the story (yes, I enjoy reading my own works). Proof reading is an essential part of writing and the latter is not complete without the former.

Comment provided July 14, 2012 at 1:06 AM

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22

I don’t know how to directly contact Marc but I can not hear, sir. Your little speach was completely missed. (I lost my hearing as the result of a land mine in Bosnia.) My experience with Ezine has been that all communications are in writing and English is just fine, thank you.

Comment provided July 14, 2012 at 1:10 AM

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Hi Zzyvko,

Feel free to reach us by using the ‘Contact Us’ button within your My.EzineArticles.com interface. It’s located in the top left corner of your homepage. Otherwise, you can contact us publicly here: http://ezinearticles.com/contact.html

~Vanessa

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23
Zahra J. Saleh writes:

For sure no one is prefect writing in English, especially those of us who English is not their native language. Also it depends the standard or the level of your education and your skills of writing as well your tolerance.
I am one person who has little pensions for revising of what she writes and I think that is a big weakness.
As matter of fact, I always prefer someone else to read after me and enjoy when someone finds my errors.

Comment provided July 16, 2012 at 10:50 PM

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24
Vijay Khosla writes:

Hi Vanessa,

The information shared by you against the remarks No. 19 & 22 is appreciated.

Thanks.

Comment provided July 17, 2012 at 2:01 AM

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25
Veronique writes:

Lots of excellent points in this article. I will try some of the tips. I have spell checked with MS Word so far or my own blog’s spell check (thebusyvegan.xanga.com) so far. It is not the best. English being not my native language, I can also be subject to errors there.

Comment provided September 4, 2012 at 8:19 PM

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26
Kara Nelson writes:

Penny, thanks for sharing 10 Proofreading Tips for Expert Authors. I ‘ll try to improve my skills.

Comment provided October 23, 2012 at 10:18 PM

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27
Sarita Rout writes:

This one is excellent. It really encourages me to put some extra effort to avoid my grammatical errors.
I think the best way to catch your mistake is if somebody goes through your article. However, today it is not possible for everyone, so better go for proofreading software.
Can anybody help me with any sites more effective for checking grammatical errors?

Comment provided January 17, 2013 at 5:38 AM

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28
Bev writes:

Hi, I read your new stuff like evvery week. Your writing style is awesome, keep up the good work!

Comment provided November 1, 2013 at 5:21 AM

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29
Cameron Jolie writes:

Wonderful Article on Editing Checklist

Comment provided November 18, 2013 at 12:39 AM

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30
Firouz Alam writes:

First of all Thanks for sharing all those 10 tips, Which should be noted by every Writers. My Proofreading tips is don’t completely rely on Spell-checker software as they are not 100% accurate.

Comment provided January 2, 2014 at 12:01 AM

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31
Niki Armstrong writes:

We came to know wonderful things form your blog.Really tips are excellent.

Comment provided January 23, 2014 at 12:31 AM

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32
Lauren Bond writes:

Brilliant piece of informatiuon. Thanks for sharing.

Comment provided July 7, 2014 at 1:26 AM

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33
Ashok Das writes:

I really like to read these types of excellent articles, that encourages me to fine tune my writings with no grammatical errors. To understand your mistakes you need to put some extra effort on reading these kind of tips and also better go for proofreading software that is less time consuming.

I will be happy if some will comment on my website content, if there any grammatical errors? Please .. please …

Comment provided July 27, 2016 at 7:52 AM

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