Innovative Business Writing
Editing and Proofreading
Goof-proof Your Writing
Need help editing or proofreading a report, manual, speech, or
other publication? It is not always easy to edit your own writing.
Often you read into your copy what is not there. What seems obvious
to you may not be to someone else reading your message.
Having your written communications reviewed and proofread by a
another person can ensure you deliver the message you intended,
without embarrassing mistakes or costly miscommunications.
If you do proofread your own copy, don't do it on your computer
screen. It is much more difficult to catch mistakes. It's better to print
out your copy and proofread it on paper.
You may want to read the copy several times and ask at least one
other person to read it for you. You can also try reading the copy
backwords to catch spelling errors.
Finalizing Your Message
Steps for editing and proofreading. Carefully read the entire document:
1. Sentence structure - Avoid long sentences joined by "and". Break them
up into two or more shorter sentences. Also, break up long paragraphs. By
varying sentence and paragraph lengths, you will make your communication
2. Check for spelling errors - Don't rely on the spell checker on your
computer to catch every misspelled word. It won't. If you're not sure, get
out a dictionary. Also, check carefully for the correct spelling of names. A
potential client or customer may not like having his or her name misspelled
in your communications.
3. Review punctuation - Do all the sentences end in periods, question marks,
or exclamation points? Are there commas where they are supposed to be?
Also, check your use of colons and semicolons.
4. Correct grammar - Do subjects and verbs agree (e.g single subject with
single verb - "He is going .." and plural subjects with plural verbs - "They
5. Use of abbreviations - Avoid using abbreviations or jargon the reader
may not know. If abbreviations are used, be sure to define them the first
time they are used [e.g. ETA (estimated time of arrival)].
6. Listing numbers - If your communication contains lists or charts with
numbers, be sure they are correct and add up.
Revise as needed, then reread one more time.