Proofreading’s Importance in the Workplace

Last Updated On: June 14, 2022

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importance of proofreading

Proofreading is reading and correcting mistakes in written pieces such as punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Proofreading is as important to business communication as polishing and buffing is to carpentry. If there is just one small blemish in either it spoils the whole piece and the overall impression from the final product loses its true effect. Imperfections and errors in any type of work show carelessness, and if it takes place in the workplace the effect is even worse.  A written piece full of punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes is hard to read and damages the credibility that you have probably worked hard to gain. Here are a few proofreading steps which should be applied to all pieces of written communication from the short email to long financial reports.

1. Put the written communication aside before you begin to proofread it. You will do a better job of proofreading.

2. Read the text out loud slowly. If you stumble over a sentence or clause your targeted readers will probably do the same. You have a greater chance of catching misplaced or missing words when the text is read out loud. 

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3. Make sure you read the document 3 times, the first for spelling, the second for punctuation, and the third time to catch grammatical mistakes. You are bound to discover more errors if you conduct proofreading in this way.  

4. Purchase a dictionary or make use of one online to check the spelling. Don’t depend on a spell-checking device, as they are unable to “read” the context with reference to homophones, or any other words which sound similar but are not spelled the same like as “too” and “two” and “teem” and “team.”

5. Look up each word that you think may not have been spelled incorrectly. This may seem tedious but in the end, it does create good spellers. 

6. Study all punctuation marks including commas, periods, semicolons, colons, and apostrophes. When writing it is so easy just to forget or misplace punctuation which limits the writing’s continuous flow.  

7. Evaluate sentences for the right grammar, including correct use of verb tenses, subject-verb agreements, parallelism, pronoun agreement, and run-offs and fragments.

8. Invest some cash in purchasing a good writing handbook which should be kept within easy reach on your desk.  Some of the best available include the following: 

  •  “The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers” by Maxine Hairston & John Ruszkiewicz.
  •  “The New St. Martin’s Handbook” by Andrea Lunsford & Robert Connors.
  •  “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, Jr., & E.B. White.

These sources are particularly helpful as they show some examples of the commonest writing errors and how to fix them.

9. Make a note of the mistakes that you are most likely to make and ensure when you review your writing you focus on these mistakes.

Good proofreading provides the writer with the chance to review work so as to make sure it flows well and does not cause a reader to stop and think when progressing through the text. This is so important in the workplace where you don’t want to be criticised by a fellow worker for providing a poorly written document that could be misunderstood if careful proofreading has been ignored.

To summarise, proofreading is the last part of editing when it focuses on surface mistakes like poor spelling, bad grammar, and wrong punctuation. 

 

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