Here are some tips for better proofreading that will help avoid the angry mobs!
- Print it out. Printing out a document that you are proofreading can make it easier. If you're always looking at the glaring computer screen it is easier to skim things and when you are proofreading you don't want to be skimming. Printing it out also makes it easier to cross out and add things in and change wording around.
- Read aloud. If you can, read the document out loud. Sometimes we "hear" the mistakes before we see them.
- Read sentences, not paragraphs. When you read the paragraph you are reading for the entire meaning and other parts of the paragraph can give you clues. But when you read by sentence you are forced to look only at that sentence and determine if it would stand on its own. If it doesn't stand on its own you should revise it.
- Read words, not sentences. If you read words you'll be able to decide if each one is spelled correctly.
- Don't just watch for spelling and grammar. Think about the readability of the sentences. Do they make sense? Are they too wordy? Is there jargon that should be omitted? Are sentences parallel?
There are many things to watch for when you are proofreading but if you start with these things you'll be on your way to a well written document.