Agriculture Communication


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Proofreading Tips

You've written your document and it's perfect, right? Probably not! Even professional writers need to proofread and have others do it.

Here are some tips for proofreading your writing:

  • Before proofreading, remind yourself who is the target audience and what is your goal. Read the document as if you're in the target audience. Consider the audience’s point of view, possible questions and understanding level.

  • Take a break. Write, then walk away from your writing and come back to it later to proofread. You’ll be amazed at what pops out.

  • Read your writing aloud. If you stumble over the words and sentences don’t flow smoothly, your readers will be so busy trying to untangle the words that they’ll miss your message..

  • Ask someone else to read your document. What is perfectly clear to you may not make sense to someone else.

  • Don't rely on spellcheck. Your computer doesn't know there from their from they're.

  • If you aren't sure if some grammar, punctuation or spelling is correct, look it up.

  • Doublecheck the spelling of people’s names and any other words you question.

  • Read each word separately. Some people even suggest reading each word from the end of the document to the beginning.

  • Delete as much as possible. Get rid of words or phrases that don't add to the meaning,  clarity or focus of the document.

  • Allow plenty of time to write, proofread and rewrite as needed.

  • After reading it again, summarize the document in a sentence. What's the one major take-away point? If you don’t have one, rewrite. If you have too many, split your document into more than one article if possible.

Becky Koch, Ellen Crawford and Rich Mattern, April 2012

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