Proofreading your own writing is very difficult. Research into how our brains process written text has shown that it can sometimes be impossible not to see what you think you wrote rather than what is actually on the page.
The weird ways of the English language can also mean that homophones and evolving spelling conventions can trip anyone up. For instance, the words proofread, proofreading and proofreader have gone through change to end up as single words, rather than separate ones, via being hyphenated compound nouns.
Errors are very distracting and can stop your readers concentrating on the content, information and ideas in a piece of writing or appreciating the real quality of what you have written. Mistakes can also detract from the authority of the text and reduce the trust your readers feel about what you have to say.
A proofread is therefore a small but valuable final step at the end of what may have been a long process and huge investment, in terms of your time and energy, to produce a significant and important document or manuscript.
- Articles prior to submission to journals
- Business reports and documentation
- Novels and non-fiction books prior to self-publication or submission to an agent
- Dissertations for MAs and MScs
- Theses for PhDs
(Despite spotting two errors in the first article linked to above and six changes needed in the second, I practise what I preach and have had the content of this website professionally proofread!)