In the process of publishing a book, typed pages, manuscript, are sent to a printer who sets it in type and makes copies, proofs, of the typeset material. Because it is almost impossible for a publisher and a printer to produce a work without making some errors, people known as proofreaders check the proofs.
In your English classroom you will usually be your own proofreader, checking errors in grammar and usage, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. You should begin proofreading only when you have finished revision. If possible, put your paper aside for a few hours, or even days, before proofreading. Otherwise, you will not look at what you have actually written; you will look at what you think you have written. To proofread, cover your writing with a piece of paper, exposing only the bottom line. Now move the cover sheet up one line so that you are reading your paper opposite the way you wrote it. With this technique you are more likely to spot errors.
Checklist for Proofreading
- Each sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
- Each word is spelled correctly.
- All proper nouns and adjectives are capitalized.
- Personal pronouns used as subjects are subject forms; personal pronouns used as objects are object forms. All pronouns agree with antecedents in number and gender.
- A singular verb is used with each singular subject, and a plural verb with each plural subject.
- Commonly confused verbs, such as lie/lay, sit/sat, and rise/raise, are used correctly, and commonly confused adjectives and adverbs, such as bad/badly, easy/easily, and good/well, are used correctly.
- Double negatives are avoided.
- Sentences are correctly structured, with no run-ons or fragments.
- The paper is neat.