What Is Proofreading?


The writing process begins even before you put pen to paper. Once you finish writing, the process continues. What you have written is not the finished manuscript, but a first draft. What is proofreading?

As you review and correct your writing to improve it, your first draft evolves into a second and third draft. You edit as many times as necessary to do the job right. You edit and proofread your masterpiece until it is ready for your reader’s eyes.

Now the key is remembering that a revision of an essay, novel or even a screenplay is not merely proofreading.

Proofreading is checking over a draft to make sure that everything is complete and correct as far as spelling, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and such.

Proofreading is a necessary if somewhat tedious and tricky job. A friend can help you with proofreading–even if that friend is a “Spellchecker” on your computer.

No piece of equipment can help you with actual revision though. You need to have human touches on each page double-checking each nuance. Ultimately your introduction and conclusion must express your vision.

Revision is comprehensive. Take another look at what ideas you have included in your manuscript and how they are arranged.

Proofreading is polishing, one spot at a time. That’s why revision should come before proofreading: why polish what you might be changing anyway?

Let FirstEditing make every word you write proof positive that proofreading is simply a must!

Now, bloggers, you ask “what is proofreading?” Well, that is what proofreading is in a nutshell!

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading, as the name suggests, involves reading a document to check for errors and discrepancies. It is the final stage in the preparation of any document, whether it is a novel, a research paper, or a regular e-mail.

Even the most skilled writer can benefit from a proofread, as small errors can very easily creep into a text. For example, if the sentence “He stared at his reflection in the mirror” is accidentally typed as “He starred at his reflection in the mirror,” Word’s spell check will not recognize the error. All the words in the sentence appear in the dictionary. Only the human eye will be able to detect that the verb is spelled incorrectly.

Proofreading cannot be trusted unless someone manually reads the text thoroughly before it is transmitted to its target audience.

Furthermore, suppose you write an e-mail to a client or potential employer, Mrs. X. You are distracted or pressed for time. While typing, your fingers naturally fall lightly on the keys, and you accidentally leave out the “s” and refer to her as “Mr. X.”

Or suppose you have written a paper for submission to an academic journal. Throughout, you have used the abbreviation ABCD, but in one instance, it appears as ACBD. In the interest of preserving the integrity of the text and its author, such errors must be caught and corrected as soon as possible.

Thus, proofreading is essential.

As a proofread is the final step in the writing/editing process, naturally, it differs from an edit.

Proofreading is what one does to a document that has already been edited, either by the author him/herself or a professional editor. Therefore, this process occurs only once a document has been revised and requires a final polish.

Proofreading ensures your text reads well, is free from errors, and if formatting is necessary, that all of the guidelines have been adhered to.

Why hire a professional editor to proofread your document?

First, the second pair of eyes is always able to catch things that even the most talented author might have missed. If you have written something, you know what is supposed to appear in the text. Therefore, when re-reading it, you might miss the fact that there is a missing article in that sentence because, in your mind, you know that it belongs there.

Second, you may desire to proofread if you are not a particularly confident writer and someone has edited your work heavily. After adding incorporating various suggestions, a professional editor will be able to help you ensure that the finished product is clear and accurate.

It is our job to help writers communicate effectively.

Proofreading is what transforms your writing into valuable copy worthy of being published. Make sure your words shine before publicly releasing your manuscript. You will save yourself lots of embarrassment.

When writing a novel or research paper, the result is best if several stages of editing are completed. For best results, a project first receives a full edit, which (depending on the editing level) will correct all significant errors and may even include changes to the content of the document.

After this initial edit, the author should go over the manuscript from beginning to end and make any final content changes, additions, or reductions. After these last changes, the document is nearly ready for publication.

However, to ensure that there are no hidden or recently introduced errors, a proofread is needed. Perhaps the most common errors found in a proofread involve apostrophes and commas.

The Most Common Proofreading Errors

The tiny apostrophe used to show possession or contraction is so often skimmed over when reading that most readers’ eyes disregard it entirely. A good proofreader doesn’t read like ordinary people; he or she will pay attention to minor details like apostrophes.

Like apostrophes, commas are often misused and are easy to overlook. Not only will a proofreader notice when commas are used incorrectly, he or she will also make sure they are used consistently.

Apostrophes and commas aren’t the only errors caught in a proofread, but they are certainly the most common. A proofread will also check for proper verb conjugation, tense, and capitalization.

What is proofreading?

In general, a proofread is recommended when your project is in the final phase of editing, and there are very few errors.

First-time writers will want to have a more in-depth edit done first to catch any significant content errors. After looking through the edit and making any final changes, then the document can be submitted for a proofread.

Experienced authors, on the other hand, may be able to get away with only having their work proofread if their writing is good enough.

Frequently Asked Questions

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