An editing tip form a Course Manager: Proofread out loud.

Whoa, what’s up with this title? It seems that someone neglected to proofread and wrote form instead of from, right? You may wonder, how could a good writer ever make such a mistake?

In fact, proofreading your own written work is typically much harder than proofreading work by other writers. As Nick Stockton of Wired magazine explains, this is because you already understand what your own writing is trying to convey. Therefore, if something is amiss due to a typo, you are likely to skip over that typo; as you read silently in your head, your brain will often say the correct word without realizing that a completely different word is on the actual page!

As a former English professor and now a Course Manager at StraighterLine, I have seen these kinds of typos frequently. I purposefully misused form in the title here because this is one of the most common typos I have seen over the years. Because the words form and from contain the exact same letters, it can be surprisingly easy to type one when you meant to type the other. Spellcheck will not inform you of this error because it isn’t smart enough to recognize the wrong word is being used.

So, how can you proofread more effectively and catch these pesky typos?

My number one tip is to always read your essays out loud as you proofread.                       If youproofreading read silently, your brain is likely to see what should be on the page instead of what is actually there. Thus, you will not recognize the typo. But if you read the essay out loud, you are much more likely to see what is actually on the page and catch many more mistakes than if you proofread silently.

The next time you are proofreading an essay, try this tip and see how many mistakes you can catch!

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