Wednesday, April 11, 2018
by Kelly Duggan

To proof or not to proof...

Here at Denfield, every single job is carefully checked, checked and checked again to catch even the smallest of mistakes.

As much as we try, errors do inevitably manage to work their way into jobs in the early stages, but with proficient proofreaders in our midst to thoroughly check everything, we have that essential last line of defence to make sure that every error is eradicated – this means that both our clients and their customers only receive the perfect version.

Proofreading isn’t simply a case of casting your eyes over a few sentences as a tick-box exercise – we check the job against the brief, check the use of keywords and phrases, make sure that it’s well-written, precise, easy to read and that the paragraphs flow into each other, and we also check spelling, grammar and punctuation. It’s not just putting the finishing touches in place, it’s an essential part of the writing process that should never be underestimated.

If you’re about to kick back with a cuppa and read back over something you’ve written, it’ll most certainly pay to keep these proofreading prompts in mind:

  • Develop a systematic strategy. This will make your proofreading process more efficient!
  • Don’t rely on spellcheck. With a limited dictionary, some real words may be highlighted as errors just because they’re not in the tool’s memory. It also won’t notice misspellings that form other valid words, e.g. lose/loose or ensure/insure.
  • Be careful using grammar checkers! As helpful as they can be, they work with a limited number of rules and can’t identify every error.
  • Look for one thing at a time. By fixing one type of error throughout your work then reading through again for the next type, you’ll keep your focus and make your proofreading more effective than if you tried to do everything at once.
  • Take your time and look at every single word. Reading out loud forces you to say each word and lets you hear how the words sound together – if you only read in your head or skim-read, there’s a chance you’ll miss errors as it’s easy to read what you thought you wrote rather than what you actually wrote.
  • Read from finish to start. By starting at the end and working backwards word by word, you’re more likely to spot spelling errors. Additionally, you can read backwards sentence by sentence to check your grammar!
  • Separate individual sentences. This technique helps you to read every sentence carefully as you’re forced to read sentences separately and can keep an eye out for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Use the return key to separate sentences onscreen or a ruler or piece of plain paper to cover lines if you’re proofreading a printed copy.
  • Keep a dictionary close by. In addition to looking for errors that you recognise, you’re also hunting for unfamiliar ones! A dictionary is sure to help here.
  • If you’re not sure, check! If you find something that doesn’t look quite right but you can’t work out what’s wrong, flag it and find out.

Here at Denfield, we never hurry a job and skip the proofreading step – as the saying goes, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, so whether it’s a simple headline or a 50-page report, why would you ever miss out one of the most important stages of a job?

Get in touch if you want to hear more about how we can help you to create and maintain a professional image by proofreading your work before it’s sent out into the big wide world.