Can you correct this sentence 6?

Proofreading: 9 Dos & 6 Don’ts for the finishing touches

Proofreading right at last: Correcting academic papers is one of the most annoying tasks that awaits you towards the end. With our nine dos, we help you to save time and correct it more effectively, and in our six don’ts we warn you of classic mistakes that could hold you back.

Effective proofreading: keep these 9 dosages in mind

Effective proofreading: keep these 9 dosages in mind

Proofreading not only requires concentration, but also technology. We have important tips on what to consider when proofreading and how you can do it in the shortest possible time. In the Don’ts you will find out what popular mistakes are and what you should absolutely avoid.

Read aloud and slowly

You may now feel like you were in elementary school again, but reading a text out loud and slowly has amazing effects. This makes you wonder faster if something is wrong in a sentence and, for example, the verb is missing or a phrase has been used incorrectly. In addition, if you read something aloud, you cannot switch to the fly-over mode.

Read backwards to spot typos

It seems banal, but if you read your academic paper backwards, you'll find typos amazingly well. Otherwise, these small mistakes are overlooked several times, as our eye arranges the words in such a way that they appear correct 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 skimming over longer texts, when a sentence is read, one no longer pays so much 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 it: double or even triple spaces. They can easily be overlooked by a layperson, but they are a thorn in the side of trained proofreaders. Not only do they look unattractive, but they can also be indicators for your proofreader that you have not proofread your work intensively again. There is a very simple trick to correcting the blank spaces.

Simply use the search function and hold down the "Ctrl" and "F" keys at the same time. Either a small search field appears or, if you are using Word, a navigation field on the left. There you can simply enter a space twice in a row and then press "Enter". Even if you cannot see the spaces in your search input, this function will find all existing double spaces in your text so that you can fix the error.

Take breaks from proofreading

Especially with long theses, the eyes can quickly get tired when proofreading. You are no longer so focused and “overlook” mistakes because your nerves are strained. In any case, make sure that you take breaks in between and that you don't overwork. If you know in advance that it will take you longer to correct, divide up the work and drink enough water on the side so that you stay focused.

Let friends proofread your work

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

Print out the text

Print out the text you want to correct. Even if electronic correction seems more practical, you will usually find more errors on paper. Your eyes won't get tired as quickly and you can concentrate longer. Another benefit is that you don't have to go through your friends' corrections multiple times. You just give them the printed version and don't keep repeating the same mistakes. They see what their predecessor has already corrected and you save valuable time to finalize your final version.

This will save you proofreading time

Proofreading is a tedious business. Saving time comes in handy. On the one hand, you can easily integrate proofreading into your everyday life from time to time. Ideally, you print out the text and take it with you wherever you go so that if you have to wait somewhere or take the train, you can immediately pick up your text.

The second time-saving factor is when you thoroughly pre-proof your own work. Then your friends, family or whatever type of proofreader you choose will be done much faster. Because if you correct your work only half-heartedly and all your second correctors correct your mistakes at the same time, the following happens: You will go through all the corrections one after the other and find again and again that the mistake has already been corrected. The more obvious mistakes there are, the more work you have afterwards.

Change the typeface

Sometimes our eyes are so used to the selected typeface that we grasp sentences almost automatically. However, if you change the font size, font, or color, you can spot mistakes and duplicate words more quickly. However, you should be careful with the color and switch to a dark blue rather than a bright orange, after all, you don't want to overwhelm your eye and distract you from the words with the color. When the font and size are changed, it's almost like proofreading someone else's text.

Practical: The correction mode in Word

If you want your work to be proofread by friends or family, you can easily switch Word to “proofreading mode”. This clearly shows you what exactly has been changed. There is even a comment function for more precise comments. We explain step by step what is possible with the correction mode.

  1. Open your document and click the Review tab in the menu. Activate the command "Track changes" there. Everything that is deleted now appears crossed out in red. Everything that is added appears red.
  2. Under "Show markup" you can set which of the corrections should be displayed.
  3. When you get a corrected text back, you can decide whether you want to accept all changes or go through them in individual steps. To do this, click on the "Accept" button. A submenu opens, with which you can choose how you want to proceed.
  4. Content-related remarks in the form of comments can be inserted and viewed at one point with a click of the mouse. You can jump from comment to comment using the Previous Element and Next Element commands in the Comments button

Effective proofreading: Avoid these 6 don’ts

Effective proofreading: Avoid these 6 don’ts

As many dos as there are in proofreading, you should definitely pay attention to these don’ts. Even experienced proofreaders like to make classic mistakes that they have acquired over time. Improve your correction, then you improve your grade too. Some lecturers deduct a full grade point from an average of one error per page. So a successful correction technique is required.

The wrong timing

Successful time management is essential for scientific work. If time is allocated incorrectly, in some cases you may even not have time to proofread. So plan the correction firmly and take at least one, but preferably three or more days, to fine-tune your work and let others read it too.

If you notice that your planning is getting off the rails and the time that was intended for corrections is no longer sufficient, you should let some friends or relatives read about your work while you are writing. Although it cannot be checked for its complete stringency, you can at least correct carelessness and spelling errors at an early stage.

Rely on the automatic spell checker

Even if you have the latest MS-Word version and the spell check itself is quite good, you cannot always rely on it. Let's take the word "reflect". If you made the popular mistake of spelling this word with -ie-, Word would recognize it in this case. However, if you split the word, for example: “X reflects Y”, the test fails.

Proofreading too often in a row

If you read a text over and over again, you will likely overlook the same mistakes over and over again. If you are running out of time, read something else, newspaper or a book that you just come across. It's about gaining distance from your text and mentally dealing with another topic so that you can really start the correction all over again later and set everything back to the beginning.

Pick any joy

While your friends' personal opinion is important, your opinion should be the main focus of your work. Comma placement is a popular topic of discussion in academic papers, for example. Instead of discussing and thinking back and forth, you should just look up the Duden or ask a friend who really knows about this area. Do yourself a favor and only pick friends who really know spelling, are talented at seeing the big picture, or are well versed in the subject of your work.

Too many proofreaders

Of course, our Dos says that many friends also discover many different mistakes, but too many cooks can also make the soup too salty. There are too long discussions about possible mistakes or you get confused by the many different opinions and try to please everyone. Three to four proofreaders should be the maximum next to yours truly. Another disadvantage is that you have to go through all of your friends' corrections over and over and that can be very time-consuming.

Putting too much time into a mistake

Proofreading is usually quite time-consuming anyway. So don't spend too long on a possible mistake that you are already unsure about whether it is a mistake at all. Usually, just googling is enough to get certainty. You are also welcome to take a look at the Duden and keep to the new spelling. If you are still not sure after this and if it is not an essential error, continue with the correction first and dedicate yourself to the problem at the end if you still have time. In the end, what counts for the reviewers who assess your work is the total number of errors and not the intensity of individual errors.

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