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.
Goof-proof Your Writing
Editing and Proofreading
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 more interesting.
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
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 are going..."
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.