What is proofreading?
When it comes to editing any piece of content that has been written, it is essential to check the content over for mistakes. To proofread something, then, is to look over the content before it is shared with others. The aim is simple – to read the content over with a fine toothcomb and to look for any potential errors. This could be errors in the syntax, in the grammar, or in the language used. It could also include proofreading for checking facts, looking for spelling errors (such as using US English instead of UK English, or vice versa), or looking for repetition of writing and/or ideas.
In essence, to proofread is to look over a document for problems. It is the final stage of any writing, carried out once the writing has been completed. You typically will look to solve problems such as:
- Correcting minor spelling errors and mistakes in tense.
- Clearing up grammar, punctuation, and syntax where needed.
- Solving ‘typos’ such as looking for misuse of terms or incorrect use of plurals.
- Removing formatting issues, ensuring the document looks and reads consistently.
- Adjusting inconsistencies in the writing style, tense, point of view, or in ideas written.
However, it should be noted that some of the above processes might be more for an editor as opposed to a proofreader. Editing looks to get the document in order, while proofreading is aimed at the final document to capture any typos and minor errors not caught during editing.
In essence, we use proofreading to look very closely at the mistakes that might have been made in a particular piece of writing. It is essential to be used before sharing any written content with anyone else, as it ensures the writing is at a high standard and has no visible errors. As the final phase of adjustment prior to publication, proofreading is absolutely essential.
Many choose to proofread themselves, while others will look to hire a proofreader to manage the process for them. To proofread, one needs to be able to retain focus, pick up minor errors, and have a focus on what requires adjustment to create consistent copy.