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Proofreading Out Loud

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Question: I've heard that reading a document aloud helps you catch more errors than reading it to yourself. Anybody out there have any experience with that?  -- Julia


When my boss and I need to proofread something important, we print out two copies of the document and one of us reads it out loud while the other follows along with his/her copy. If you don't have another person, I think reading it out loud would be better than just reading it to yourself. Good luck!

Both sound like a good idea. And another one...although time consuming for long documents: Read it backwards. You'll catch a lot more errors. I use that trick. Because as you read along, your brain anticipates what's next and doesn't catch an error but reading word for word backwards forces your brain to concentrate on just that word.

Reading out loud helps because you are not just seeing the words, but hearing them as well. It acts as a check and balance system.

Great ideas. I do reserve the "reading a document backwards" for documents like contracts. Another idea is to read a document at a future time and/or date.

Reading outloud is a good way to find mistakes, for the most part. However a person tends to read what they think they have written and may miss certain words, like and, if, or, etc. Having another person follow as you read is the best way to catch 100% of typos.

Yes, reading out loud does help you catch mistakes. When you read quietly to yourself, you automatically add in the corrections without realizing it to maintain the flow. You can read much faster to yourself than you can read out loud. A mistake out loud will stop you because you will have to consciously correct it.

In my office, we do all of the above for important documents. Another thing you can do if you are by yourself is to put a ruler under each line of your printed document and read it one line at a time. With that method you can catch mistakes also because you are looking at the words "out of context".

Absolutely! A college professor taught me to read aloud when proofing papers because "the tongue doesn't lie", meaning, if you ears hear it and it sounds wrong, it is. Reading out loud enables your ears to catch mistakes that your eyes tend to gloss over.

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