1 Aug

Five Tricks to Help You Proofread

Kaity Dunn

Account Associate


  1. Take a deep breath
    Often when I’m starting a new assignment, I think of that scene in The Next Karate Kid, when Hilary Swank finally learns she can only land a certain jump if she centers herself by pausing for a moment before the jump. This actually works in real life, too. I find that if I pause for a moment before switching tasks, rather than jumping right into them, I am more focused and productive. I’m like the next karate kid of public relations in Cincinnati!
  2. Print it out
    I’ve discovered that I hardly miss edits if I’m proofreading from a hard copy.  Proofreading straight from the computer screen leaves more opportunity to skim over an edit.
  3. Read it backwards
    Our minds are trained to fill in blanks and make sense of copy.  So if you’re reading through a paragraph as you normally would, you might not see there is a missing “a.” If you start from the bottom and read backwards, you’ll focus more on each word, leaving less opportunity to miss mistakes.
  4. Wait a while
    If you’re proofreading your own writing, make sure you set it aside for at least a half hour before you begin proofreading. This will give you a fresh perspective when you come back to it.
  5. Read it out loud
    Sometimes you can only tell if a sentence is too long or awkward if you read it out loud. It might sound like a silly thing to do, but it works!

Punctuation can also be a tricky subject when it comes to proofreading. Click here for a New York Times article about common comma mistakes.

What other tricks do you do when proofreading?