What Is Proofreading

Glossary > Proofreading

💬 Definition of Proofreading:

Proofreading is the process of checking for errors in a text before being published. It is the very last stage in text reviewing before publishing, when all misspellings, punctuation mistakes, writing inconsistencies, typos, and formatting issues are resolved. 

Related questions about proofreading:

What to watch for as a proofreader?

Proofreaders review the text for mechanical correctness. They monitor grammar, punctuation, spelling, omitted words, repeated words, writing tics, spacing, and formatting. This requires thoroughness and attention to detail, excellent language and communication skills knowledge, persistence and determination, and flexibility to review a wide range of texts. 

Is proofreading the same as editing?

Proofreading handles surface errors, such as spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It does not interfere with the structure and flow of the content. On the other hand, editing focuses on increasing readability, enhancing the flow of the text, and clarifying the ideas, improving the overall quality of writing.

What is the main challenge of proofreading?

The human mind is proficient at autocorrecting misspelled words, which means we may notice only some of the typos on a written page. When proofreading a text, putting it aside for a day or two before resuming is advisable. It also helps to print and proofread the manuscript in a physical format. 

What are the main proofreading tips?

  1. Print a hard copy; it is easier to follow the text. This is a reminder of a traditional typesetting process when a "galley proof" was printed and proofread before publishing the manuscript.
  2. Read aloud; this is the most effective way to pick up mistakes.
  3. Stick to one style guide for consistency. There are five style guides: Associated Press Style, APA Style, Chicago Manual of Style, and MLA Style. Pick the one that is most relevant to your type of writing.
  4. Do not rely solely on apps. They fail to pick up a wide range of mistakes, like homophones because they are written correctly despite not fitting into the context. 
  5. Allow yourself time to review the text thoroughly.

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