Nothing says, I don’t care to write the very best, than a term paper, presentation, or resume that’s riddled with typos and grammatical errors. Look, typos happen. If only we had our own staff of editors and communication experts. Instead, we have spellcheck. So, until that happens, use these proofreading tips to elevate your game.
Avoid the Texting Effect
In a world where Tweets and texts emphasize convenience and abbreviations that would make Shakespeare blush, it’s important that you leave enough time to think about your subject material before writing discussion board posts and class papers. Remember, you’re communicating with professors and classmates, not your best friend. In short, slow down and give yourself the time to clearly articulate your thoughts. Don’t rush.
Use the Grammar Buddy System
Let’s assume you’ve spent a dozen hours researching and writing a paper on a complex topic. Sometimes you can get “too close” to the subject material to the point it’s mentally exhausting. This is where errors creep in and can ruin the quality of your work. One of the first things you should do is find a learning partner with opinions and editing abilities you can trust. Make a pact with your buddy that once you complete a draft, that he or she will read it with an eye for grammar and messaging. In return, you will provide the same free service to your grammar buddy. You’ll be surprised how well this works not only in spotting errors, but also in getting feedback that can actually improve your work.
Read it Backwards
A screenwriter with an Oscar on his mantel once mentioned this little editing trick. Take each page of your document and start at the end. Let your eyes skip backwards (right to left) across each line of the page and up to the beginning. It takes a little getting used to, because you’re not reading for messaging. You might be surprised how quickly your eyes jump to a typo, homonym or grammatical error.
There’s only so much artificial lighting from a computer monitor that your eyes can take before your mind turns to mush. Sometimes it is best to print off your work, get comfortable and edit on paper. Plus, you can easily write notes, which you can come back to later. Just don’t forget to recycle your used paper.
These tips are simple, effective, and they will save you time. More importantly, good proofreading skills can result in better grades and will translate into even more success when you’re communicating in the workplace.
By J. Thompson
Online Learning Tips Staff