Proofreading skills are a valuable asset to any organization. If you’re a writer, it’s one of the most important skills you can have. The importance of proofreading cannot be overemphasized.
Have you ever read an article that you just couldn’t finish reading because of misspelled words, improper word context, improper punctuation, or just plain sloppy writing? We’ve all read articles like this and it’s obvious that the writer did not take time for proofreading.
Your Writing Reflects You
Written words reflect you as a writer. Whether you’re writing an article or just posting a comment, how well you write will come across to your readers. Just like meeting someone in person, your readers will develop an impression of you through your writing. Will you be labeled a ‘lazy writer’ or a ‘professional writer’ by your readers? If your readers label you as a lazy writer, they probably won’t return to read your future articles. On the other hand, a writer that takes time for proofreading may be rewarded with future visits.
It’s important to get into the habit of proofreading in everything that you write before you hit that submit button. No matter how small a piece it is you’re writing, it still counts. If you post a comment and misspell someone’s name (and I’ve done this), it’s embarrassing and doesn’t sit well with the recipient for obvious reasons. Getting into the habit of proofreading everything that you write will make it easier for you and will improve your writing.
Credibility and Proofreading
Believe it or not, you’ll lose credibality fast with your readers if you have misspelled words, typos, incorrect words or context.
Did you catch that? I purposely misspelled credibility. Are you thinking, “I can’t believe this, she spelled credibility wrong!” Did you immediately feel you didn’t want to read anymore of this article? That’s my point. If you’re article has a key word misspelled, your readers will be turned off and may not continue reading it. Don’t let this happen to you. Proofreading is the only cure and I encourage you to sharpen your skills and take the time to do it.
It’s to your advantage to make proofreading a critical part of your writing. Editors will rate your writing skills partially based on your proofreading skills. If you don’t correct your errors, the editor will correct them for you or pay you a lower rate.
Proofreading Is Not Quite the Same as Editing
There is a difference between proofreading and editing and it is a fine line. Proofreading is re-evaluating your writing by looking at punctuation, spelling, and grammar usage.
Editing is the re-evaluation of the context of your writing. Changing the words in a title, deleting sentences because they don’t contribute to the main point of a paragraph, moving paragraphs around, or changing the tone of your writing are all editing issues. You can view editing techniques by using the Yahoo! Style Guide and clicking on Editing 101. There’s also a direct link to an editor where you can post a question that you may have. The Yahoo! Style Guide gives helpful hints on many different aspects of writing and is a great resource for any writer. To access this resource, just click on here on Yahoo! Style Guide.
A very useful section of the Yahoo! Style Guide is their Word List. This Word List is a great resource while you’re proofreading. I was trying to figure out how to correctly spell ‘reread’. Should it be re-read or reread? The Yahoo! Style Guide has a Word List which clarified my dilemma for me. If you click on the ‘r’ tab, a list of common issues with words beginning with that letter will appear. There’s a section on using ‘re-‘ in front of words and this is where I found my answer.
Proofreading is a valuable skill and the Yahoo! Style Guide is a valuable resource. Both of them will help improve your writing skills.
Sources : Personal Experience
Yahoo! Style Guide