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22 February 2019

5 tips to proofread your texts

Whether it’s an email, a post for social networks, the texts of a website, a portfolio or a blog post, before publishing or printing, you must ALWAYS proofread.

But how to proceed? How to proofread effectively? What to pay attention to? I share my 5 tips to proofread your texts, so they are flawless.

You will tell me that there are spell-checkers. Obviously, but …

About spell-checkers

… we can not always trust them. Spell-checkers, if they are more and more “intelligent”, correct only what is wrong in the language and not what is wrong in the context.

For example, a spell-checker will not necessarily make the correction between “a” = auxiliary avoir which is used to conjugate a verb to the past tense and the preposition “à“. Since the two “words” exist in French and are correct in terms of spelling, your corrector will not necessarily correct the sentence: “Je vais a la maison.” You follow me?

Let’s move on to a concrete method.

1. Make several proofreadings

It depends on the length of the text and its technicality, but I strongly recommend doing several proofreadings. This allows you to segment the work and focus your mind on one aspect. Your eyes and your brain will be prepared to send you a warning signal as soon as something does not seem completely normal to them.

In principle, I do several proofreadings that are focused on the meaning of the text, some of which out loud as I had already explained in the article Tips to write a text…powerful.

In my opinion, it makes more sense to start with the proofreading of meaning and construction of the text before correcting the spelling. The meaning is the base, the raw material. Once you are satisfied with what you wrote and how you did it, it’s time to go into detail. Not before.

Then, I do different proofreadings focused on specific points:

  • one proofreading of titles and subtitles
  • one proofreading of punctuation
  • one proofreading of verbs
  • one proofreading to find the repetitions
  • etc.

As I said, it depends on the level of difficulty of the text. Good to know if you find a little excessive a proofreading of titles: they often contain mistakes… read the newspapers and their headlines.

2. Focus on your weak points

If you’re weak point is forgetting to put capital letters at the beginning of the sentence or to confuse the verbs when you have to put -er or , these are the points on which you have to focus first to revise your text.

Start with these aspects. You will see, you will feel relieved, because automatically you will think that you will have done most of the work. Your mind will be more free to focus on the other proofreadings.

Moreover, do not forget that it is always possible to improve. I’ve created for you an action plan to improve your spelling.

3. Highlight suspicious parts

Do not stop too long on a passage or a word that puts you in doubt. Highlight it and come back to it at the end of the proofreading or after doing all your proofreadings.

Why? Because stopping too long disrupts your attention and the conditioning of your brain. In other words, you lose attention.

It’s a bit like when you get a notification on your phone while you’re working in a concentrated way. You will lose attention and it will take you a few seconds to get back to 100% in your task.

4. Leave no doubt

Whenever I listened to this little voice: “Yeah, that should be how it is written” and that I did not check, I was wrong.

What is valid for the business, it is also for the spelling: if you have a doubt, follow your instinct! He is often (always!) right. On the other hand, not the voice of laziness.

Honestly, with all the websites that are available now to check your grammar and your spelling, in two clicks you find the answer. You will not lose much time. Conversely, if you leave too many mistakes, you will lose credibility.

5. Take a break

Your eyes and your brain are tired. And when they are tired, they are less attentive, a bit like a couple🤭.
Especially, that the brain is trained to “correct” the spelling mistakes automatically.

So, I advise you to take a break. After, you will come back to your proofreadings with a sharper eye.

Personally, I always leave one last proofreading after a good night’s sleep (when possible). In the morning, I read my text one last time with my fresh eyes.

Good for your texts, good for your image

Having a flawless spelling gives a professional image of you. If you try to sell your products and you contact your customers with texts full of mistakes, you take the risk to miss a nice job.

The signal that a neglected spelling sends is that the person who wrote it is also neglected. Therefore, you will be perceived as someone you can not trust, who is not rigorous or careful. I mention, too, it’s very unpleasant to read a text full of mistakes, isn’t it?

I proofread all kinds of texts in French: quote, email, invitation, article, etc. in ALL areas of activity. Do not hesitate to call me! I would love to help you.

Follow your instinct but not the voice of laziness!

tips proofread texts

par Delphine Berclaz