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How can I become a better proofreader?

Good proofreading takes practice and an important part of learning how to spell is to learn how to proofread. Becoming a better proofreader can help you catch spelling errors. First, though, it is important to understand the difference between reading and proofreading. In most reading you get a good general sense of what is going on and the relations of various things involved in the document. By contrast, careful proofreading is about gaining a more thorough understanding of the structure and character of the document. As far as tips, type instead of handwrite whenever possible. Type is clearer and your familiarity with your own handwriting makes it look right in many instances when it is wrong. You can use an electronic spell checker either before or after your own proofreading, but you must pay special attention to any mistakes before correcting them. It is important to spend a little time becoming familiar with the errors or types of errors. You will lessen your chances of making such mistakes in the future - or at least make it more likely that you will catch them. It is important to read for meaning. Paying attention to the context helps you correct grammatical mistakes and find things like misused homophones (like their, there, they're). When you write something new, allow it to simmer for awhile. Give your eyes a break. Set it aside and do not look at it for 24 hours. When you come back to the piece fresh, you will no doubt spot many errors that you would have otherwise overlooked. Reading from a lighted surface (such as your computer monitor) causes a great deal of eyestrain. It is a good idea to print out your document on paper and then proofread it. You will have a much easier time seeing the words. We often have a tendency to read whole sentences; however, when you proofread, you should make a point to read each individual word. Oftentimes, using your finger to underline each word as you read helps call your attention to mistakes.

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