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35

You could try reading the final draft out loud either to yourself or to another person. (That's what I have always had my own children do when they're working on school essays.) Reading out loud slows you down so that you are less likely to read over a duplicated word and it will be more obvious when a word is left out. It is also a good method for ...


21

Read from the bottom up. It derails the comprehension so it's much easier to see individual words, and you catch many more typos and dropped words.


11

I use a Mac. I use the built-in Text-to-Speech feature to read back aloud the words I have written. It is by far superior to reading yourself because the brain sometimes skips things right in front of your eyes! And the more tired your eyes, the ears usually hear better! You can achieve similar results if you use a PC.


8

I am an english student, so if you are teaching, you already far outmatch me in ability, however, these are my thoughts. Sometimes, although is sounds a little bit insane, it is possible to create someone in your mind to critically analyse your work. Try this. Imagine a sarcastic, witty imp, sitting on your favourite shoulder. He knows nothing but the ...


8

I think the answer to your specific problem is that there is no simple solution. There is no trick. Reading out loud does definitely help, but ultimately if your mind is subconsciously fixing the errors as you go so that you read right over them without taking any notice, it's going to happen when you're reading out loud just the same. You have to train ...


7

Proof-reading and editing (or copy editing) are actually different though overlapping activities, arguably requiring opposed skills. A good editor is creative and imaginative; a good proof-reader adheres consistently and strictly to style guidelines. Assuming you have neither person at hand, here are four tips that might be of use: Show your work to ...


7

The best answer I ever heard was from an English professor: "Write as if you're explaining the text to a slightly stupider classmate."


7

Ten out of 66,000 words would be acceptable to me, particularly if the proofreader has only gone through it once. You always catch more on the second round because on the first you're reading for both structure and sense, and the second time is primarily for structure.


6

So you need a non-human external proofreader? Good luck with that. There are some websites that may help, but I think it's going to come down to human eyes, in the end. But before that, you could try good old MS Word's spelling and grammar check. It's often wrong, but it's right often enough that you should at least consider its suggestions. I've also ...


6

Something I have done with considerable success is to read the finished product in a much larger font. When you are reading along in your normal font, it is easier for your mind to anticipate and gloss over words, even when they are obviously incorrect. By increasing the font size, an error tends to stand out more clearly, making it more difficult to gloss ...


5

I don't know whether you do this or not, but one of the best ways of proofreading I've found is to print out the document and read it through in the paper format, rather than trying to proofread writing on screen. Mark up your corrections on the paper in a particular coloured ink and correct them on-screen. Now take a break and do something else before ...


5

Nobody is perfect, not even proofreaders. But first, let's get some terminology straight: Copyediting is a catch-all term for editors who revise, make changes and suggestions, and so on. Of course, as editors go along, we mark up any typos they find on the proofreading level. But it's not the focus of this pass. We'll catch as many errors as we can, but at ...


4

Proofreading is the process of looking for errors. Revision is the process of improving the writing. The two aren't necessarily synonymous. Yes, removal of errors usually results in an improved piece. But many other improvements require restructuring, better word choices, removal of stale idioms, switching passive voice to active voice, etc. This ...


4

I just recalled a friend telling me years ago that he witnessed professional proof readers and editors, who work for publishers, use a pencil to plot a dot over each and every word as they read through a manuscript. It forces them to read every word. Of course, it is only a matter of time before your brain goes on autopilot again, especially on very long ...


4

Some errors will always remain, no matter how many proofreaders go through the manuscript. I've yet to see an error-free book. Some readers will always be critical. If it's not the proofreading, it's the editing. If it's not that, it's the fact-checking, and so on. Just steel yourself for the critics, and hope they find happier ways to amuse themselves, ...


4

I've done this for brochures and other literature, and it's a bit of extra work compared to marking up a PDF with circles and arrows. But some publications have had problems with people using different PDF readers and these marks appearing in the wrong locations, so there may be a reason for this. "Describe the action" means you should let the proofreaders ...


4

I wouldn't even allow one mistake. I am a proofreader and I do not rest until every error is corrected... No matter how many words. He obviously didnt do what you asked for. Find another proofreader.


3

I find that most of my mistakes occur at or across line breaks. After your first proof-reading pass, change the margin slightly on your window - perhaps just by half an inch. This will cause all the text to wrap at a different point and previously hidden errors will become apparent on the second pass. Of course I think that (as others have suggested) ...


3

This is a difficult question to answer because an awful lot depends on your own personal expectations of what you expect a proofreader to achieve. Having said that, a good proofreader should find all mistakes in a proofed draft, no mistakes should be acceptable; otherwise, what are you paying them for? On the other hand, in my experience (and in my ...


2

You're working with a human so you'll usually be disappointed if you expect perfection. But as the author you are right to have high standards. There are proofreading techniques, such as breaking up chapters and long paragraphs so errors stand out. Perhaps your proofreader is early in their career, perhaps not. Instinctively I'd suggest a few rounds of ...


2

Generally speaking, this is a perfect job for a proofreader, so there's not much point in you trying to "double up" with a professional. There might be some minor cost difference if they charge by hour, but I would guess it to be negligible - the effort is less in fixing errors once found, and more in carefully going over the entire text, to find the errors. ...


2

I saw that you mentioned Whitesmoke in the comments, and one of the advantages of it over MS Word is that Whitesmoke can also check grammar and excessive use of words or phrases. There are a number of other software tools out there that do similar things, but ultimately you need to decide if it really makes things any easier for you. I found a review of ten ...


2

I'm reminded of the method banks use to train tellers to recognize counterfeits. They only handle real money. Lots of real money. The way I learned to proofread, was to diagram sentences, while reading my high-school grammar text, and reading Larry Niven, and other detail obsessed authors. So when my classmates work crossed my pencil, I asked 'Is this what a ...


2

Is it possible for you to practice Ernest Hemingway's advice of leaving some time between writing and proofreading so you come to it fresher?


2

Print out your work, as others have suggested. Print 2 or even 4 pages per sheet, thus using fewer trees. Newer versions of Word (and most other word processors, I'd imagine) attempt to catch words that are spelled correctly but used in the wrong context. An example I see all the time is 'been' for 'being'. E.g. 'Are you been serious?'. In Word, potential ...


2

In my opinion as a computer technician, this is impossible at least outside the strictly technical language... And, even so, I don't think it's something you can expect to be error free. Google translator is far from accurate, at least from what I see when interacting with people that depends on it to speak in English. It can translate something in an ...


2

You mentioned, that the formatting of your word processor is distracting you while reading through your text. One suggestion is using a Markup language like Markdown, that is also used on Stackexchange. This will separate your writing from formatting and you can use any text editor (like Notepad). One tip for searching for doubled words is using the ...


1

Use text-to-speech software. It's available on almost every computer nowadays, for free. The advantage of this is that the computer is stupid and will read whatever you have written, even if it makes no sense. (Of course, this approach assumes you will recognize the mistake when you hear it.) Human readers will instead often unconsciously fix textual ...


1

It seems like a colossal waste of paper, but good self-proofreading really requires a hard copy. I'm one of those people who doesn't have much of a problem with this, but I end up catching the strangest stuff when it's all printed out. Most writers agree on this.


1

Perfection is a very difficult standard to achieve. I think the more practical standards are: At what point does the number of errors in the text become distracting to the reader? Ten typos or grammar errors in a 66,000 word novel doesn't sound to me like something that would be really annoying. What is typical in the industry? What's the average number ...



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