Let’s continue with the topic of editing, but shift a wee bit. What about proofreading (or proofing)? Or copy-editing and line-editing? There are actually quite a few, but for all intents and purposes, let’s stick to proofing and editing.
Although they’re often used interchangeably, yes my friends, there is a difference.
Proofing basically entails reviewing a completed document to locate and fix typos, grammar and style mistakes—what I jokingly call bloopers and blunders. The emphasis is on correcting superficial errors in spelling, grammar, composition, punctuation, and formatting. Think of it as a “quality check”.
Editing includes proofing, but it’s more intensive. In addition to the above, you’re taking into account how facts and details, and ideas are organized. Editing isn’t a one-time action, by the way; you really need to edit several times.
Whether proofing or editing, set aside your work for a while after writing (a half hour, a day, week, or longer if you’re not in a rush). This allows for “fresh eyes”. You don’t always see the mistakes when you’re proofing or editing as you’re composing.
Between you and me, I find it best to proof and edit from a printed page. But that’s l’il ol’ me (I’m still kinda old-school). Some peeps do fine eyeballing documents on screen. Whatever works.
I’ve heard it said you should read your work out loud to “hear” the off bits. I’ve never done that once in my life. But if you’re new to proofing and editing, it might prove a worthwhile endeavor.
Feel free to use a spell checker, but bear in mind it won’t catch correctly spelled words that have been erroneously utilized. A simple example: “its” versus “it’s”.
There are also some fantastic on-line proofreaders. I hear Grammarly is one of the best and you can use certain components for free. If you plan to use one, do your due diligence and determine which is best for you.