Working in the communications industry means we do a lot of
reading and writing, and although our job roles may not explicitly
demand being a good proof reader, it's an essential skill to
master. We've all probably been guilty of dropping some howlers and
even the biggest can get it wrong:
As you can see from the above, it's so easy to slip up: an
embarrassing local poster advertising the opening of Debenhams; and
a bad error from a learning organisation confusing their 'they're,
their and they are'!
It's best we all take a little more care and time to save
ourselves from embarrassment. Below are five tips to help you
become a better proof checker to minimise those typos and
Understandably, all our minds work in different ways and you may
not need to follow all five. But I'm sure that there is some good
advice here that will serve everyone well:
1. Print your work out. This is a top tip from those who have
been proof reading for years. Sometimes when reading on a PC screen
your eyes may unknowingly skim over silly mistakes; however, when
you have something tangible in your hands you can often pick up on
2. Invite others to proof read your work. I'm sure you may
already have heard this before but that's because it's effective.
When we spend a length of time constructing a blog, article or some
other form of copy our brains really do become oblivious to errors,
especially if we have proof read it ourselves a few times. In an
office, it helps if you have a designated proof reader.
3. Read it out loud. Now unless your colleagues are okay with
you reading under your breath a lot, or even at the top of your
voice, this is one that might not be practiced comfortably in the
office; you may need to find another room.
4. Proof read as you write. You can do this every sentence,
paragraph or page. I believe this works best for every paragraph.
It allows you to review your work as you proceed and it's easy to
5. Have an app! With the help of grammar and spell check apps
and browser add-ons like Grammarly, there's far less room for
I hope this helps - don't get