Guest post: Proofreading tips and techniques by Brian Karrey

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of the editing process, is brought to you by proofreader Brian Karrey.

Proofreading tips and techniques

After an essay or other written work has been done and completed, checking to ensure it’s in the best condition follows. Proofreading work saves a lot of time and ensures that your work doesn’t go in vain. Proofing software is not efficient. This leaves your open option as the manual way. Here are some tips for you:

1.     Concentration

You need to concentrate on your work if you intend to catch the small mistakes. And to do this, you need to rid yourself of all distractions in the room where you are working. This will promote your ability to see the small errors.

2.     Put it on paper

Sometimes it’s hard to proof soft copy.  This is because of how the eyes are naturally made not to tell the accuracy of typed work. Hard copy proofing is the best approach. Print the work out and proof it.

3.     Homonyms

These are words that share same spellings and pronunciation, yet have different meanings. For most people, words like complement and compliment are distractive. They could spell disaster in an essay or exam test.

4.     Contractions and the apostrophes

Contractions are difficult. Yet, many people make mistakes that include them in their writing. Words like their and they’re can hurt the credibility of your writing if they are not checked. Also check out for instances where you have used apostrophes in plurals. They are never used there and you need to correct that.

5.     Checking for punctuations

A huge part of proofreading work is to check punctuations. This means looking out for words that are capitalized wrongly, missing or extra commas, periods that have been used wrongly and other typos.

6.     Read work backwards

It’s essential for you to start the habit of reading words backwards. This is because, the brains makes and corrects its own mistakes. Whereas this could be amazing in the ideal world, the corrections are wrong. You need to read each word, back to back to determine which one doesn’t make sense.

7.     Check the numbers

Numbers are often confusing in text. However, humans are mad about numbers and you never know what their implications are when they turn out wrong. The best you can do is double-check your number sources. Make sure the numbers you use in the essay or writing is accurate.

8.     Get someone else do the proofing

This is quite straightforward. Professional editors are in the best position to see ambiguity and mistakes in work. Get some help with the proofing before hitting send or submitting.

I made the compliment / complement error when I started out posting the author spotlights until one of my contributors pointed it out to me… fortunately I hadn’t done many. 🙂 Thank you, Brian!

Brian Karrey is a paper proofreader at


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8 thoughts on “Guest post: Proofreading tips and techniques by Brian Karrey

  1. Salvatore Buttaci says:

    Too often writers do not take the time and trouble to learn correct proofreading, leaving it to the editor or publisher to make the needed corrections. What often happens results is lack of acceptance of the submitted piece of writing.


    • Brian Karrey says:

      I do agree with you! Writers should definitely proofread their works, often work with mistakes may be declined by the editor, even if the material was great.


  2. Sisi Jacobs says:

    Having someone else proofread after truly works wonders. I’m yet to try proofing with hard copy and reading aloud, I should try them out soon.

    Was the typo in the first paragraph deliberate to prove a point. the “vein” for “vain”?


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