If you’re going to spot mistakes, then you need to concentrate. That means getting rid of distractions and potential interruptions.
Switch off the smartphone.
Turn off the tv or radio.
Stay away from the email.
- Put It On Paper
People read differently on screen and on paper, so print out a copy of your writing
- Watch Out for Homonyms
Homonyms are words that share the same spelling or pronunciation but have different meanings. Eg: accept – except or complement – compliment
- Check the Contradictions
People often mix their and they’re, its and it’s, your and you’re and so on. If there is something that can hurt the credibility of your text, it is a similar mistake.
- Check the Punctuation
Focusing on the words is good, but do not neglect the punctuation. Pay attention to capitalized words, missing or extra commas, periods used incorrectly and so on.
- Read it Backward
When writing we usually become blind to our own mistakes since the brain automatically “corrects” wrong words inside sentences. In order to break this pattern you can read the text backward, word by word.
- Check the Numbers
Stating that the value of an acquisition was $10,000 instead of $100,000 is definitely not the same thing. What about the population of China, is it 1,2 million or 1,2 billion? Make sure your numbers are correct.
- Get Someone Else
After checking all the previous points, do not forget to get a friend to proofread it for you. You will be amazed at the mistakes you’ve missed. A second person will also be in a better position to evaluate whether the sentences make sense or not.
- Read out loud
It can help if you read the piece out loud. This helps you to spot faulty sentence construction and bad grammar. . If you read aloud, your ear might catch errors that your eye may have missed.
- Use a ruler
Use a ruler to guide your eyes so that you don’t inadvertently miss the odd line.