4 Little-Known Proofreading Tricks that Work Every Time

Guaranteed proofreading tricks for a better document

1. Read each word of your text right to left (instead of left to right). When we proofread the same way we write and read, our eyes and brain can work in conjunction to fool us—tricking us into reading what we expect to see. You are more likely to catch a misused word or typo if you are not reading the words in order. (Although I wouldn’t recommend proofing your 50,000-word manuscript this way, this technique is extremely helpful with shorter documents.)

2. Turn your page upside down. Sounds crazy, right? This proofreading trick works best when visually reviewing a document  for layout, photo placement, margins, etc. If any element in your layout doesn’t line up or needs adjustment, it will jump out at you.

3. Print it out. Do not—I repeat, do not—proofread your document on a computer screen. We read differently on the computer than we would on a hard copy in front of us. In addition, it is more difficult to catch alignment and other visual page issues if you have to scroll down.

4. Don’t assume. If at all in doubt about word usage, spelling, or any other issue, stop and look it up. I once proofed a document that contained the words “about whom” and “about who” in two consecutive sentences. Rather than looking it up and getting the word usage right, the writer settled on being only 50% right—which also means being 50% wrong.

Share your techniques with us below!

If you liked this, you might also like:

Semicolons: How You Can Use Them & Look Smarter
10 Commonly Confused Words
4 Ways to Make Your Writing Pop

Hyphens for Dummies (Easy Ways to Avoid Confusion)

5 Common Grammar Bugs You Can Squash Today


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2 Responses to 4 Little-Known Proofreading Tricks that Work Every Time

  1. jesse fogarty says:

    Great article. I’d like it even more if I now didn’t have to call my mom and say the three most dreaded words “you were right”. It’s one of those things you grow up hearing but never actually think has any benefit. With that said I can now safely say I’ll be printing out my articles before pressing publish.

    • Precise Proofing says:

      Jesse, glad to hear it. Your articles will be all the better for it. And telling mom she was right is not so bad after all. You’ll make her smile. 😉

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