Quick Tip:
Proofreading for Perfect Copy

One of the difficult tasks you face as a copywriter is proofreading your own copy. It seems that no matter how hard your try to find typos and errors, there are always two or three hiding out.

While there’s no foolproof way to proofread, here’s a strategy that works for many writers:

  1. Before you print your document, run the spellchecker. But do not depend on it. The spellchecker doesn’t catch everything.
  2. Print out a copy of your file and proofread it. (It’s easier to find mistakes in print copy than on-screen.) Make the corrections, then print two copies of the corrected file. Put it away for several days … even a week. (The longer the better.)
  3. After letting the copy "rest," have a friend read it aloud to you while you follow along on your own hard copy. Do NOT try to follow along on the monitor.
  4. As you follow along, you’ll spot typos and errors more easily than if you read it by yourself. Mark them on your copy. Also mark any spot where your partner misreads a word or stumbles. That might indicate a place where your copy isn’t flowing as well as it should. (Something you can check out and fix later).
  5. Make the corrections and run your copy through the process once again … if you have time.

By following this procedure, you’ll turn out much cleaner, more professional copy.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: March 7, 2005

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