“The difference between the almost-right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning-bug & the lightning.” – Mark Twain
Twain himself had little patience for such errors. “In the first place God made idiots,” he once wrote. “This was for practice. Then he made proof-readers.” There’s no foolproof formula for perfect proofreading every time. As Twain realized, it’s just too tempting to see what we meant to write rather than the words that actually appear on the page or screen. But these 10 tips should help you see (or hear) your errors before anybody else does.
Proofreading is a slow and methodical search for misspellings, typographical mistakes, and omitted words or word endings. Spotting such errors in your own work can be difficult because you may read what you intended to write, not what is actually on the page. To overcome this tendency, try proofreading out loud, articulating each word as it is actually written. You might also try proofreading your sentences in reverse, a strategy that takes you away from the meanings you intended and forces you to think about small surface features instead.