Proofreading tips for success!
Updated: Feb 19, 2020
· Does every sentence begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop (or question mark/exclamation mark)?
· Does each sentence contain a verb?
· Are all the sentences complete?
· Are verb tenses being used correctly and consistently?
· Do all verbs agree with their subjects?
· Are apostrophes being used correctly? Tip: their function is to indicate belonging (e.g. the client’s requirements) or to indicate that a letter is missing (e.g. it didn’t work).
· Are all modifying words, phrases and clauses in the correct places? Is it clear which words or phrases they are supposed to modify?
· Is the correct word being used every time? Are all definitions of words correct?
· Are there any more precise words that I could use instead?
· Are there any words missing that should be included? Or are any words still there that should have been deleted?
· Is there any technical jargon and/or slang that might be unfamiliar to my reader or inappropriate to use?
· Does the text contain any clichés and overused expressions?
· Are there any unnecessary adjectives?
· Is the same thing said more than once using different words? (tautology)
MECHANICS & FORMATTING:
· Is every word spelt correctly? (never fully trust the spellchecker!)
· Are words capitalised properly?
· Are there any unnecessary or undefined abbreviations?
· Is every sentence expressed clearly and easy to understand?
· Are the sentences too long? Would the meaning be clearer if they were split into shorter sentences?
· Can any sentences be combined?
· Does the writing make sense? Is it possible for the reader to take a different meaning from that which is intended?
· Is it possible to rephrase anything to make it easier to understand?
· Is there a variety of word choice?
· Does each sentence convey one complete thought?
· Does the same word appear too many times? (Tip: use a thesaurus for some alternative words.)
· Is the tone appropriate? Too formal and stilted? Or too chatty or casual?
· Does each sentence say something new and important, or is there repetition?
· Finally, be sure to check everything and read what is actually there, not what you think should be there – be forensic!