What comes to mind when you read a blog post peppered with grammatical errors? You’d either doubt the writer’s credibility or think he is a complete idiot if the post is simply incomprehensible. You don’t have to use bombastic words or various idioms; these are probably going to confuse your readers as well but it is important to just make sure that your spelling is correct and simple sentences are grammatically correct.
You could either be careless or your language grasp isn’t strong enough to detect errors, so there are various methods or tools to help you proofread your posts before you publish it. Here are 5 of the most popular and effective methods:
1. Use spell and grammar check
MS Word already has this function which would highlight words spelt incorrectly or sentences with a ‘strange’ structure. Make good use of this function by first activating it and then selecting the language that you will be using. The spell and grammar check are pretty reliable and helps to keep many boo-boos away.
2. Print it out
Somehow people act differently when viewing items on screen and on paper. It is this same reason why some writers still opt to write or type their pieces by typewriter.
Maybe it is the glare from the PC screen that causes ‘blind spots’ for grammar and spelling mistakes. Whatever it is, if you think that you can detect mistakes easier if you read your posts in print, print out your writing by all means.
3. Take a break
After spending hours at your desks drafting a post, don’t you think your mind would be so exhausted to go through the text again to spot errors? You might even be eager to just publish the post and get over it once and for all.
Stay calm and take a break just before doing a proofread. Step away from your desk, grab a drink and come back with a fresher mind. You’d feel ready to tackle the piece for one last time and be able to spot mistakes better. This is what I usually do after writing a long web hosting article. I would be tired that I usually take a break and come back to proofread it later.
4. Ask someone to do it
It is always more effective if someone proofreads your writing because at times, you wouldn’t even know that the words or sentences you’ve used are wrong. Get a friend or anyone who is willing to proofread for you. Just make sure that the person you approach for help isn’t worse off than you!
5. Read aloud
This method is best in deciding which sentence structure to use. Only when you read aloud would you be able to determine if the sentence sounds good and right. Of course you don’t have to read the entire post aloud; only parts of it which you are dubious of.
When you are rereading your post, here are some things to watch out for:
It is common to miss out punctuation, especially the apostrophes, as we type furiously at the keyboard. Make sure that you capitalize the proper nouns and put commas, colons and such wherever needed.
No, these are not referring to the contractions experienced before child-birth! Contractions are the shortened versions of a string of words, eg. they’re, you’re and it’s. Many are either careless or confused when to use they’re vs their, you’re vs your and it’s vs its. Learn up which is which and keep an eye for these when proofreading.
Homonyms are similar-sounding words, eg. accept and except. Again, if you aren’t sure which is which, revise your schoolbooks and practise so that you’ll never make this mistake again in your writing.
Having an extra ‘0’ in your figures is a big blunder! Just imagine how it would be if you are selling a blouse that costs $30 but you had made a typo and it now costs $300? If your eyes go haywire trying to count the number of zeroes, use commas to separate the digits or don’t be afraid to use your fingers to guide you!
With so many ways given to proofread your work and additional tips on what to look out for, there is no reason for you to continue publishing posts filled with typos and grammatical and spelling errors. This is also a good time to brush up on your English if you aren’t able to tell comma from coma and spell grammar as grammer.