Proofreading: 9 Dos & 6 Don’ts for the final touch

Proofreading at last: Correcting scientific papers is one of the most annoying tasks awaiting you towards the end. We help you with our nine dos save time and correct more effectively, and warn you in our six don’ts of classic mistakes that could stop you.

Effective Proofreading: Note these 9 dos

Proofreading not only requires concentration, but also technology. We have important tips on what to look for when proofreading everything and how you succeed in the shortest possible time. In the Don’ts, you’ll learn what popular mistakes are and what you should avoid.

Read aloud and slowly

Maybe you feel like being in elementary school again, but reading aloud aloud aloud has amazing effects. You become so quicker if something is wrong in a sentence and, for example, the verb is missing or a phrase has been misused. In addition, if you read something aloud, you can not switch to skip mode.

Read backwards to detect typos

It seems trivial, but if you read your scientific work backwards, you will discover typos astonishingly well. These little mistakes are otherwise overlooked even more than once, because our eyes adjust the words so that they seem right and meaningful to us. You may even know this phenomenon if you can still read words, even though their letters are out of place. The same thing happens when flying over longer texts, when a sentence is read, you pay less attention to the spelling of the individual words in it.

Find multiple spaces with the search function

It happens again and again without us noticing: double or even triple spaces. They can easily be overlooked by a layman, but they are a thorn in the side of trained proofreaders. Not only do they look ugly, but they can also be indicators for your proofreader, that you have not read your work intensively again. There is a simple trick to correct the blanks.

Just use the search function and keep the keys “Ctrl” and “F” pressed simultaneously. Either a small search box appears or if you use Word on the left side a navigation field. There you can simply enter a space twice in the search bar and then press “Enter”. Even if you can not see the spaces in your search input, this feature will pick out any existing duplicate spaces from your text so you can fix the error.

Take breaks during proofreading

Especially during long theses the eyes can quickly get tired during proofreading. You are no longer so focused and “overlook” mistakes because your nerves are strained. In any case, make sure that you also take breaks in between and do not overwork. If you know from the outset that you will need more time to correct it, divide the work and drink enough water to keep you focused.

Have your work proofread by friends

As a rule, the authors of a term paper, bachelor’s or master’s thesis first read their work themselves. In particular, small careless mistakes are often overlooked. In addition, the own spelling is not always perfect and you should always get at least a second opinion.

Print the text

Print the text to be corrected. Even if the electronic correction seems more practical, you will usually find more mistakes on paper. Your eyes do not tire so quickly and you can concentrate longer. Another advantage is that you do not have to go through the corrections of your friends several times. You just give them the printed version and do not overline the same mistakes again and again. You’ll see what your predecessor has already corrected and you’ll save valuable time to finalize your final version.

This will save you time in proofreading

Proofreading is a tedious task. Saving time is just right there. Well, on the one hand, you can easily integrate the proofreading into your everyday life. Ideally, you print out the text and take it everywhere with you, so that you, if you have to wait anywhere or train, you can take your text immediately to hand.

The second time-saving factor is when you thoroughly pre-correct your own work. Then your friends, family, or what kind of reviewers you pick out are done much faster. Because if you only half-heartedly correct your work and all of your second-hand correctors improve your mistakes at the same time, you’ll do the following: You’ll go through all the corrections one after the other and find out again and again that the mistake has already been corrected. The more apparent mistakes that are, the more work you have behind.

Change the typeface

Sometimes our eyes are so used to the selected typeface that we almost automatically grasp sentences. However, changing the font size, font, or color helps you spot mistakes and duplicate words more quickly. However, you should be careful with the color and switch to a dark blue instead of a bright orange, you do not want to overtax your eye and distract from the words by the color. When font and font size are changed, it’s almost as if you were proofreading a foreign text.

Practical: The correction mode in Word

If you want to have your work proofread by friends or family, you can easily turn Word’s “Correction Mode” on. This will show you clearly what exactly has changed. There is even a comment function for more detailed comments. We will explain step by step what is possible with the correction mode.

Open your document and click on the “Review” tab in the menu. Activate the command “Track changes” there. Everything that is deleted now appears red-crossed out. Everything added will appear red.

Under “Show Markup” you can set what should be displayed by the corrections.

When you get back a corrected text, you can decide if you want to apply any changes or go through them in stages. Click on the button “Accept”. A submenu opens with which you can choose how you want to proceed.

Content comments in the form of comments can be inserted and viewed at the click of a mouse. You can jump from comment to comment using the commands Previous Element and Next Element in the Comments button

Effective Proofreading: Avoid these 6 don’ts

As many proof-reading options are available, you should definitely pay attention to these don’ts. Even trained proofreaders like to make classic mistakes that they have acquired over time. Improve your correction, then you will also improve your score. For example, some teachers deduct a complete grade from an error per page on average. So it is a successful correction technique in demand.

The wrong scheduling

Successful time management is indispensable in scientific work. In some cases, if time is miscalculated, it may even happen that you do not have time to proofread. Plan the correction and take at least one, but preferably three or more days, to fine-tune your work and let others read it.

If you realize that your schedule is getting out of hand and the time it took to make corrections is not enough, you should have some friends or relatives reading about your work while you’re writing. So it can not be checked for their entire stringency, but you can at least correct volatility and spelling mistakes early.

Rely on the automatic spell checker

Even if you have the latest MS Word version and the spell checker is quite good in itself, you can not rely on it in all cases. Take the word “reflect”. If you made the popular mistake of writing that word with -ie-, Word would recognize that in this case. However, if you break the word, for example, “X reflects Y again,” the exam fails.

Too often proofreading

If you read a text again and again, you will probably also overlook the same mistakes over and over again. When time is running out, read something else in between, a newspaper or a book that is falling into your hands. It’s about getting away from your lyrics and mentally dealing with a different topic, so that you can really start over from the beginning and fix it all up.

Choose any joy

Although the personal opinions of your friends are important, your opinion should always be at the forefront of your work. For example, commas is a popular topic of discussion in scholarly work. Instead of discussing and pondering, you should just check the Duden or ask a friend who really knows about this area. Do yourself a favor and choose only friends who are really knowledgeable in spelling, talented in recognizing context, or well versed in the topic of your work.

Too many correctors

Of course, in our Dos, many friends also discover many different mistakes, but too many cooks can over-salt the soup. It is discussed too long about possible mistakes or you are confused by the many different opinions and try to make it alright. Three to four correctors should be the maximum next to yours. Another disadvantage is that you have to go through all the corrections of your friends again and again and this can be very time consuming.

Too much time stuck in a mistake

Proofreading is usually quite time consuming anyway. So do not spend too much time worrying about a possible bug that makes you feel unsure whether it’s a mistake at all. Usually even simple Googling is enough to gain certainty. Also, take a look in the Duden and stick to the new spelling. If you still are not sure after that, and if it is not an essential mistake, continue with the correction and dedicate yourself to the problem case in the end, if you still have time. The bottom line is that the correctors, who judge your work, count the total number of errors and not the intensity of individual mistakes.