Tips for Top Proofing

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

This recent discovery has been called “typoglycemia”, and basically means your brain sees what it expects. This is very interesting, but can be very frustrating when trying to ensure your work is error free.
Whether writing for yourself, or on behalf of a client, getting ready to share your work can induce a mild sweat on even the most proficient writer. Fear not. CommsBank proof reader, Aimi Nuttall, shares some of her top tips for spotting errors before you press send.
  • Print it
    I always print work out as we see errors clearer on paper than we do on a screen.  I print black and white on double-sided recycled paper and mark my edits on the same sheet to save paper.
  • It’s a rule
    This is my favourite! Using a ruler will force you to slow down. You will read line by line, taking in each individual word and avoiding skim-reading.
  • Don’t rely on spell cheque
    Form or From. There or Their. Public or Pubic. The wrong context can cause untold trouble!
  • Change the font
    Refresh your eyes by changing the size or shape of the font. Your work will be forced onto different lines that will make spotting errors easier. You can change it back to your preferred font afterwards.
  • Loud and Proud
    By reading aloud you will determine the pace of your writing.  Ideally you will have a mix of long and short sentences to keep the reader’s interest. If all sentences are the same length it can be monotonous, or if too long, it can seem rambling.
  • Take a break
    With a busy office and encroaching deadlines this is not always possible, but if you can, put your writing to one side. Taking a break for a few days, or even a few hours, will give you a fresh perspective.

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