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  • Writer's pictureA. Hampton

Proofreading Tips for Beginners

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

tips for successful proofreading

Getting yourself motivated to begin a new project is tough, and proofreading is no different. As you prepare to correct your writing, you might have questions about the activity of proofreading. What should you do while proofreading? As you gain experience proofing various types of documents at varying degrees of complexity and length, you will appreciate these gentle reminders from project to project.

  1. Do not procrastinate or wait until the last minute to write and proof your work! Costly editing errors always occur when you rush.

  2. Read your sentences out loud exactly as they are written on the page. You can often hear mistakes before you see them.

  3. Double—space the document for easy proofreading. Change the line spacing after completing all revisions, if necessary.

  4. Proofread your writing at least three (3) times. You will catch errors all three times. Those are the breaks!

  5. Distance yourself from any document YOU personally just wrote. Put your document away and let it ‘cool’ for a few hours or a few days, if possible.

  6. Use a Partner. For long, technical or high stakes documents, enlist a partner to help with proofreading. You and your partner can proof separately, then merge your corrections.

Remember, accuracy is your top priority, not speed. Speed equals mistakes! If you are not comfortable with your ability to catch every mistake in your document, you can always hire a professional proofreader.

For more detailed information and exercises on how to become a better proofreader, get the book, “Proofreading Power: Skills & Drills,” by Ashan R. Hampton.

Enroll in the Proofreading Power: Become an Effective Proofreader” online proofreading class to sharpen your proofing skills.

Ashan R. Hampton is a long-time English instructor turned entrepreneur. Through her company, Onyx Online Education & Training, she offers digital courses and print books on grammar, proofreading, business writing and communication for personal and professional development to individuals and corporations. To find out more about Ashan's work, visit



© 2015-2020 by Ashan R. Hampton, Onyx Online Education & Training. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY 4.0 license.

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