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Information & Advice

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...on Assistive Technology

Proof Reading

Often, after we have written something, we are told “read it over carefully”. Still, even after we have read it, it comes back with what we sometimes call “silly mistakes” in spelling and punctuation.


What is proofreading?

These are the different stages of writing:

Proofreading gives you a chance to make sure that no words are missing and that your spelling is correct. It is also a good idea to check that capital letters and punctuation such as question marks, apostrophes, commas and full stops are all in the right place.

During the proofreading stage you could refer to a dictionary or use the features in your word processing software, such as grammar check and spell checker.


If you are unsure of grammar, spelling and punctuation, the BBC have a useful website that explains most aspects of written work, There are also useful practice exercises you can do.


Five common errors to look for when proofreading

Here are some common errors to look out for when proofreading your work:

1. Putting the wrong word in the wrong place - especially when using homophones. Homophones are words which sound the same (or similar) but have different spellings and meanings.


Other common homophone pairs to watch out for are of and off; to and too; there and their and which and witch.


2. Leaving letters out, for example in the middle of words. Many words contain silent letters, or letters that are not sounded out when you say them quickly.

3. Mistakes when adding an ending, or suffix, to a root word. It's easy to make mistakes especially when adding the -ing suffix.


Try to remember the rules for adding the -ing suffix to root words that end in 'e' or a short vowel followed by a consonant.

E.g. Make + -ing = making (drop the final 'e')
shut + ing = shutting (double the final consonant)


4. Using a small i as a pronoun. A pronoun is a word that stands in place of a name such as Sheila or John. Remember that whenever I is a word on its own, you should use a capital letter.
E.g. Max and I went to the cinema last night.


5. Missing words out. Most people sometimes think faster than they  write, so it's easy to leave out small words such as a, the, and, it, and in. Careful proofreading can help you spot this type of mistake.


Tips for effective proofreading


Good proofreaders:



A suggested strategy for proofreading