Proofreading Tips

  1. Walk away for at least 30 minutes (although overnight is better) and come back to your writing with fresh eyes to review what you wrote. Do all your points make sense? Does the article flow in natural way? Are you missing any words or typos?
  2. Read it out loud. Reciting the words out loud can help you catch silly typos and hear the overall flow of your content.
  3. Print out a hard copy. Looking at the words on a physical page (rather than a computer screen) can help you notice mistakes. Of course, we always recommend using scrap paper to save the trees!

Common Grammar Mistakes

  1. Semicolons: A lot of people are afraid of semicolons because they don’t know how to use them. They have two jobs:
    • They connect two related sentences
    • They can be used in a list that uses a lot of internal punctuation (such as, “I went to San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Houston, Texas; Bismark, North Dakota; and Atlanta, Georgia).
  2. Me vs. I: A lot of people use “I” when referring to themselves and another person. For example, if you take the phrases, “Judy and I like ice cream,” or, “Can you please meet Sam and I at the store?” the first example with Judy is correct and the second with Sam isn’t. Think of it like this: if Judy or Sam weren’t in the sentences, how would you write it? “I like ice cream” and “Can you please meet me at the store?” Now just add their names in before yourself! “Judy and I like ice cream” and “Can you please meet Sam and me at the store?”
  3. Who vs. that. Use “who” with people and “that” with brands. For example, “Cindy is a teacher who enjoys playing piano” and “I like the bouquet that has red roses in it.”
  4. Word usage: Here’s a helpful list of common words that are commonly mixed up.
    • You’re = You are (“You’re my best friend!”)
    • Your = It belongs to you (“Your friends are here”)
    • They’re = They are (“They’re making dinner”)
    • Their = It belongs to them (“John and Sue are eating their dinner”)
    • There = A place (“John and Sue are eating over there”)
    • We’re = We are (“We’re like two peas in a pod”)
    • Were = Past tense of are (“We were eating peas”)
    • Where = A place (“Where are the peas?”)
    • Two = The number 2 (“We have two stores in our town”)
    • To = Indicates motion (“We’re going to the store”)
    • Too = Also or excessively (“I like the store too”)
    • Then = A point in time (“It happened back then”)
    • Than = A method of comparison (“I’d rather it happen right away rather than later”)
    • Fewer = Something you can easily count (“I’d like fewer garden gnomes in my yard”)
    • Less = Something that’s not quantifiable (“I’d like less grass in my yard”)
  5. Active voice: You want your content to be compelling and actionable. Instead of writing in passive voice (e.g. “The TV show was being watched by him), write it actively (“He watched the TV show”).

Source: Reproduced for educational purposes.