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5 Simple Proofreading Tips

Published on 02 Sep 2017

Simple mistakes can significantly detract from your resume, job application cover letter, presentation or annual report. This article outlines 5 simple techniques that will help improve your proofreading skills.

In this day and age, the spellcheckers and grammar tools on our computers have made us a bit lazy. However, these tools are not perfect and having a mistake such as misusing “your” for “you’re”, “its” for “it’s" or “theirs” for “there’s" will detract from your document.

Below are our 5 tips that should help you when proofreading your next document:

  1. Take a break - Don't proof your work just after you have completed it. We suggest that you wait at least an hour before reviewing it. It is important to review your work with some distance between writing it and finalising it. 
  1. Print out a hard copy - We know it sounds old school, however printing a hard copy and using a different coloured pen (we suggest red) does help. Go through your work slowly and methodically as if you did not write it. Remember that our eyes see what they want to see which can mean that simple mistakes are overlooked. 
  1. More than typos - Proofreading is not just about picking up on typos - look for words that are repeated too often and weak paragraphs. 
  1. Tighten your writing - Pay attention to excess punctuation and imprecise sentences that drag on. 
  1. Lazy phrasing - Look out for phrasing that is wordy; why use two words when only one is needed. For example, instead of “in the event” why not use “if”. The longer your sentences and words are, the more chance that the reader will become bored and disinterested. Don't be scared to be ruthless!

One last bonus tip - get a second set of eyes to review your work if you can. A new set of eyes brings a new and detached perspective that can pick up on errors that you may have missed.

If you would like any assistance with proofing or preparing your documents, the Branch Office provides a professional service with prompt turn around times. You can call us on 6332 9300, use our online Contact Us form – www.branchoffice.com.au/contact or simply drop into our office at The Branch Office Building located at 45 Cameron Street, Launceston.