Proofreading (also proof-reading) is reviewing any text, either hard copy on paper or electronic copy on a computer, and checking for typos and formatting errors.
Spell checkers are brilliant inventions for people like me, as ANYTHING that makes life slightly easier gets my full seal of approval. However, Microsoft Word will sadly not catch all the mistakes. So, while suing Bill Gates over that email that made you appear like “a child with learning difficulties” is a possibility, it is best to cut out the problem at the source…and get reading!
You should proofread virtually any written piece; from business proposals to emails to blog posts, everything that involves word that is going to be seen by another person (or a group of people) will need to be proofread, as a simple typo can give your business an unflattering and unprofessional reputation.
Reading slowly is very important – thankfully I’m unable to read fast due to a worryingly low IQ, which has worked in my favour, as this is a huge benefit for proofreading! If you are lucky enough to be alone in the office, stop twirling around on your chair and use this as the opportunity to read your work out-loud to yourself.
Why? Well, when you proofread silently, you will skim through and possibly miss mistakes. But, if you read aloud, there is absolutely no way your mouth can keep up with your brilliant brains, which means that you can “hear” your mistakes more easily.
If you have lots of time (you lucky swines), then put your work down for a day and check it again later. Things you missed one day you might notice the next.
But there are other things besides grammar and “maverick” spelling that can make your stuff look amateurish and/or slightly demented. Check your margins, line spacing, font selections, format and styles to make sure everything looks fantastic and is easy to read.
In conclusion, top businesses ensure that NO errors are associated with their company. The proof really is in the puddding!