Proofreading is an activity that, if carried out correctly, allows you to publish an article or text free of any error. Please find out how this particular operation works on our blog. Anyone who publishes texts or articles on the web, as well as on any other online or offline platform, should know very well what proofreading is, what this particular operation is for, and what the best ways are to carry it out.
It is, in fact, a fundamental step in the process of writing a text, as, if done correctly, it allows you to publish textual content free of errors of any kind. Often, there is a tendency to confuse and make the meaning of editing and proofreading coincide. Still, the latter activity, generally translated into Italian with the formula “proofreading,” responds to specific needs (different from those that guide an editor in his work) and has its precise methodology to follow.
Proofreading gives authority and credibility to the text and to whoever wrote it; for this reason, it must be carried out correctly and at the right time. It should also be underlined that proofreading can make any text, even a “simple” email, more effective and error-proof. To avoid making mistakes, however, it is necessary to precisely know every aspect of this particular activity, from its precise meaning to the correct method to follow, passing through the specific purpose of the operation defined as proofreading.
What Is Proofreading?
Proofreading, or proofreading, refers to a specific phase of the writing process of a text or article, that is, the one that precedes the final act (the publication of an article or a text or the sending of the message in the case in which it is an email). In practical terms, this activity consists of checking the text for spelling, grammatical, or formatting errors. As already underlined, proofreading is often confused with editing. Still, it is necessary to reiterate that these operations refer to different moments of the writing process and are guided by other purposes.
Editing ensures the text is well-written, well-organized, and easy to read and understand. The editor also removes errors present within the textual content. Still, its specific purpose is, in reality, another: to verify that the text makes complete sense and that this is easily understood by those who read it. However, searching for and correcting errors is central to the proofreading activity. Specifically, as already mentioned, attention is dedicated to the improper use of some terms, the presence of spelling and grammatical or formatting errors, and poor use of punctuation.
What Proofreading Is For And Why It Is So Important
As will be more apparent by now, proofreading serves to identify and correct every possible minimum error present within the text or article that needs to be published. Microsoft Word and similar writing programs include some specific proofreading functions. Still, these programs do not ensure a 100% effective result since it is possible that they are not able to grasp all the nuances of such a language.
Complex and constantly evolving (but the same goes for other languages too). Relying solely and exclusively on this software, believing that one is infallible, and underestimating the importance of the error-checking phase in the text is wrong and inadvisable. We must not forget that an error in a published text can result in missed conversions, negative comments, and further expenses to be incurred.
A mistake can undermine a brand’s authority, credibility, and reputation, which entails costs or lost revenue. There is, obviously, error and error. It is not, in fact, just a matter of correcting any oversights and inattentional dictated by distraction and superficiality but also of paying particular attention to possible ambiguities in the meaning of the message that one intends to convey and dedicating some time to choose a more or less sector-specific way of writing and a tone of voice that is most suited to your audience.
How To Proofread Correctly
We often consider proofreading as a phase that follows, in terms of time, the writing of the text. This, however, is only partially true because, to optimize and make the proofreading activity genuinely effective, it is also necessary to write the text in a certain way right from the start. Specifically, even before starting to write, it is essential to pay particular attention to the structure of the text.
How the text is organized and, more precisely, how the information is arranged within it is what ensures the possibility of conveying your message clearly and without the possibility of misunderstandings. Before starting to jot down words on paper, take some time to reflect on what you want to communicate, focusing on the most relevant information and how it can be arranged to give it the proper visibility and clarity. Everyone has their writing method, built and tested over time. Nonetheless, it is possible to identify some general advice that is very useful for all those who wish to organize information within a text effectively.
Starting with some keywords or phrases and building a skeleton of titles that will guide the writing of the text is a measure that generally proves to be particularly effective. If it is true that, as just underlined, giving structure to the text right away is very useful, so is another suggestion: in the early stages of writing, that is, when there is a greater risk of finding yourself faced with a blank page for a long time, the much-feared “writer’s block,” it is essential to write as much as possible without paying particular attention to the care of the form, which can (and must) be fixed at a later time.
Haste is always a lousy advisor when it comes to writing a text. When you have the first draft in black and white, taking additional time is advisable. With a cool head, it is easier to understand whether the general meaning of what is written is faithful to the message intended to be communicated and noted, as well as to correct possible errors present within the text. Further advice is to print the text draft or transfer it to an e-reader. Reading the text on paper or a device dedicated explicitly to reading allows you to maximize your attention on the textual content, thus increasing the possibility of realizing any errors that need to be corrected.
To perform proofreading correctly, focusing on one problem at a time is very important. In this regard, it is advisable to dedicate one reread to each aspect, from formatting to spelling through grammar. In this way, you avoid the risk of overlooking some details and can also proceed with correcting the text more coherently. An excellent proofreading activity cannot ignore an accurate check on data (and dates) and quotations present within the text; these are errors that, like and perhaps more than others, immediately catch the reader’s eye and, precisely for this reason, they risk compromising the credibility of the entire work.
Nowadays, the web allows obtaining every bit of information on every event. Still, it is advisable to pay close attention to the sources’ accuracy as references in this further verification phase (obviously, it is always better to prefer official sources). You may be able to write an article or text very quickly, characterized by particularly tight deadlines. This risks affecting the quality of the text itself. Once again, however, it is necessary to reiterate the need to take the right time for proofreading.
Once all the errors that have been identified within the text have been corrected, it is advisable to take another break and then reread with a cool head what is believed to be the final version of the text (it is not excluded, however, that there may be a need to get back to it). In this phase, it is essential to pay attention to the harmony and coherence between all the interventions carried out in the text; in fact, even a minimal change in a specific part of the text may have repercussions on other elements.
In this case, correcting all the “connected” elements is necessary to avoid discrepancies, repetitions, and possible misunderstandings. Only once you have reached this point, when every single operation that makes up the proofreading activity has been carried out step by step, is it time to proceed to the final step, that is publication (or sending, in the case of an email), with the reasonable certainty of having done everything possible to avoid the presence of errors in the text.