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John the copywriter’s proofreading recipe

Second eye

After a day’s writing — or if you’re in a blinding hurry — it’s often hard to see the wood for the trees and accurately proofread your own work.

The real key to avoiding typos is to have someone else proofread your work. Whatever level of writer you are, it’s hard to avoid the inevitable typos. They slip under the radar like professional hackers. Left unnoticed, they can wreak havoc and get you into a lot of trouble.

You see a lot of typos and errors on the Web because a lot of Web copy never gets reviewed by a second eye before it goes live. This is in stark contrast to the copy you read in newspapers and magazines. Even though it’s written by professional writers, it goes through an extensive editing process.

So again, my big number one lesson is to get someone else to proofread your writing.

If this isn’t possible, here are four solid proofreading tips.

Read your work backwards. Guaranteed to fool your brain, and can catch those typos that you normally glance over. Read the last sentence first and so on.

Read your work out loud.  This not only helps you discover typos, but it’s also a great way to spot awkward sentences and grammar.

Always proofread a printed version of your work. There’s no substitution for reading a printed version of your work. I guarantee that you’ll find more typos this way.

The overnight test. This isn’t always possible, but give yourself as much time as possible before your final review. You’ll see what you actually wrote and not what you think you wrote.