Regardless of our careers, most of us write emails, social posts, and text messages every day. The ability to write well is a great skill. However, it takes practice and a clear understanding of proper grammar rules.
Essentially, writing well requires learning how to edit and proofread. Proofreading can help you increase the understanding of your writing, build trust with your colleagues or customers, and increase the overall quality of your work.
What is Proofreading?
Proofreading is the process of reviewing a written piece for errors before it is published. This can be done by the author themselves or by another individual.
Proofreading is important because it helps to ensure that the finished product is accurate and error-free. Errors can vary from minor typos to more significant grammatical mistakes.
Proofreading can help to make sure that the final piece is polished and professional. It can also help remove any doubt or misunderstanding your writing may have. While it is often considered the last step in the editing process, it is perhaps the most important of written material.
What is the Difference Between Proofreading and Editing?
Many people use the terms proofreading and editing in the same context, however proofreading and editing don’t quite mean the same thing – and they won’t produce the same results.
Proofreading is a process of checking for errors in written work. It includes reading, re-reading, and correcting any mistakes that are found. They don’t rewrite entire sections. Proofreaders are looking for specific types of errors. These include spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and formatting issues that could affect the accuracy of the document.
On the other hand, editing involves changing the wording of a piece of writing. For example, if an article needs to be rewritten or changes are required to the structure of the text, then this would be considered editing. Editing is all about ensuring that the meaning and ideas in a piece of writing are conveyed in the best possible manner, for the intended audience.
Let’s take a deeper look at why proofreading is a significant step that should never be skipped.
Reason #1 – Proofreading ensures understanding
When you’re reading something for the first time, your brain always tries to make sense of the information and fill in any gaps. This can lead to miscommunication, especially if the text is complex or dense. Proofreading can help to eliminate these errors by allowing you to reread the text with a fresh perspective.
In the age of text messaging and social media, it’s easy to let your guard down when it comes to grammar and spelling. However, even the slightest mistake can change the meaning of your message and lead to confusion or even offence. That’s why it’s essential to always proofread your work before hitting send or publish.
Additionally, a second reading can help clarify any confusion, and it also allows you to catch any errors that may have been missed the first time around. As a result, proofreading can be an essential tool for ensuring understanding, whether you’re reading for work or pleasure.
So next time you’re struggling to make sense of a text, remember that proofreading could be the key to unlocking its meaning.
Reason #2 – Proofreading shows you care
You’re about to hit send on that all-important email when you notice a tiny typo. Your first instinct might be to ignore it, but resist the urge. Taking the extra time to proofread your message shows that you care about quality and attention to detail. It’s a small gesture that can make a big impression.
Of course, proofreading isn’t just for email messages. Whether you’re writing a cover letter, creating a presentation, or crafting a critical memo, taking the time to check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile. It demonstrates that you’re taking pride in your work, and it sends a strong signal that you’re someone who can be relied on to produce high-quality results.
So next time you’re about to click “send,” take a few extra minutes to proofread your work. It’s a simple way to show that you care.
Reason #3 – One wrong punctuation can make you look silly
Perhaps you’ve seen the silly memes or grammar jokes about how one simple punctuation can change the entire meaning of a sentence. Well, joking aside, it’s absolutely true.
“Let’s eat grandpa.”
“Let’s eat, grandpa.”
One suggests that your grandfather joins you for dinner. The other offers your grandfather as dinner! In a work environment or when writing a technical paper, the wrong punctuation could confuse the reader, which sets off a domino-like effect for the rest of the correspondence.
Reason #4 – Proofreading removes distractions
If you’ve ever read or heard something that gives you pause, you know how difficult it is to get back into the groove of reading or listening. When someone says something that’s not quite right or writes something that makes you cock your head to the side in confusion, it causes a distraction and takes away from the rest of the material.
Some see proofreading as a tedious task, but it can be quite helpful in removing distractions and improving clarity. By checking for errors, we can ensure that our writing is free of any potential misinterpretations. In addition, proofreading can also help improve the flow of our writing by providing a consistent level of quality throughout. As a result, proofreading can be an essential tool in helping us focus on the content of our writing and deliver our message in the most effective way possible.
Reason #5 – Proofreading can help you land a job
What happens when a resume comes into a hiring manager’s inbox full of grammatical errors? Often, it goes straight into the bin. This makes sense because if someone isn’t willing to take the time to ensure their resume is free of mistakes, then they may assume that the person will not take time to do well at their job.
Whether you’re trying to land a job, write a school paper, or apply to live on Mars, take a few extra moments to proofread. If you’re not comfortable with your grammar skills, find a friend who is and ask them to help you out. There are also great online tools, like Grammarly, that can help. While tools won’t provide perfect results, they can help you improve your writing and understand proofreading better over time.
Reason #6 – Proofreading builds trust
It’s important to build trust with your audience. Whether you’re communicating with customers, colleagues, or investors, it’s essential that your written communications are clear, concise, and free of errors. Proofreading is the best way to ensure that your writing is accurate and error-free.
In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with information, those who take the time to proofread their work can stand out. By taking the time to proofread your work before you hit “send,” you’re sending a message that you care about quality and accuracy. As someone who takes care of their written communications, you’re more likely to gain your reader’s trust.
Proofreading is an essential step in the writing process because it ensures that your work is error-free. Professional proofreaders can help ensure that your writing will be polished and professional. If you want your writing to be the best it can be, always proofread it carefully before submitting or publishing it.
Written by Sophia Dickinson, LEXIGO: Sophia is a writer and communications consultant with 10 years’ experience in the public service and not-for-profit sectors. She has also taught English in France and spent a year working at a local NGO in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is passionate about writing, intercultural communication and languages (she speaks French, Indonesian and is learning Spanish). Read more about her experiences here.