What makes a good proofreader?

What makes a good proofreader

When you’re writing your own copy, it pays to have it proofread by a professional. That said, what skills should you expect your chosen proofreader or editor to have?

They will always:

  • Be reliable

    Reliable proofreaders will be honest about their workload and whether or not they’re likely to meet your deadline. Furthermore, it can be a good indication that they will be reliable to work with if they respond to your emails promptly.

  • Follow a style guide

    A good proofreader will read the text as a whole and will therefore pick up on any style, formatting or spelling that is inconsistent with the chosen style guide.

  • Work on paper as well as digitally

    Many proofreaders and editors swear by printing out the text. This way, they can see the text in its intended form as a finished product and pick up on things they may not have noticed on a screen. However, other details are easier to spot on a PC thanks to formatting symbols, spell checkers and so on. The best proofreaders tend to make use of both.

  • Read from bottom to top

    Starting at the end of the text and reading up the page is a top tip used by many proofreaders to help them spot errors without getting distracted by the meaning.

  • Spot the smallest of details

    Experienced proofreaders are eagle-eyed and have excellent concentration. This helps them to spot even seemingly unnoticeable mistakes in your writing. They are also skilled at picking up inconsistencies within larger documents.

  • Follow a checklist

    Grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, flow – you name it, it’s on the proofreader’s checklist. This ensures nothing gets missed out or skimmed over.

  • Be perfectionists

    Don’t get downhearted if the piece of writing you spent many precious hours on comes back from the proofreader covered in revisions. A proofreader is very meticulous and will always strive for perfection for you to ensure your work is faultless and, ultimately, enjoyable to read!

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