How many times has someone let you know there was a misspelled word on your flyer, brochure or web site? Those mistakes affect how professional you are perceived you to be. Again, when Mind Masters members’ have an expertise, they willing share it so their fellow members can gain some insight. Since small business owners do it all, Laurie’s editing tips were the perfect information we all could use.

Quick Proofreading Tips

Let’s face it: spell-check isn’t enough. Word processing software just isn’t smart enough to distinguish between “to,” “two,” and “too”; only a human brain can do that. The following trio of tips will help you use the spell-checker between your ears:

  1. Read s-l-o-w-l-y. Your brain is an organ of efficiency, and it will insert letters and words that aren’t actually on the page or screen. Outsmart yourself by slowing down when you’re proofing; this will give you a better chance of catching what’s missing.
  2. Mumble. Yes, that’s right—mumble! By sounding out the words as you read them, you’re using your mouth and your ears in addition to your eyes. The more senses you can use when proofing, the better job you’ll do. Mumbling helps you hear when a sentence “just doesn’t sound right.”
  3.  Put it in Reverse. Reading backward will help you find typos because it forces you to focus on each word, not sentence structure or content. Use a dictionary to verify spellings and definitions. (Note: Your brain might resist when you first start reading from right to left.)

These tips will help you fix mistakes that spell-check can’t even find. Keep up the good work! Remember: Spell-check isn’t enough. Really.

*Laurie Gibson is an editor, writer, instructor, and proofreader with 15 years of professional experience. Her editorial repertoire includes books, newspapers, magazines, and corporate Web sites, reports, and proposals.  E-mail wordworker1@earthlink.net for more info.