Proofreading Tip: Read Your Writing Out Loud

In writing on July 9, 2009 at 10:08 am


It’s tough to catch every single grammatical mistake that might sneak into your writing, especially when English is your second or even your third language. Still, grammar will be part of your grade in almost every class that requires writing, so proofreading is a must. It’s a great idea to use your school’s tutoring lab or even your own tutor to help with grammar, but it’s also important to learn how to proofread your work on your own.

One thing that makes proofreading easier is reading the paper out loud to yourself. There are a couple of reasons this helps with proofreading:

  1. Reading the paper out loud slows you down, making it easier to catch mistakes.
  2. It also forces your ear to hear what you’ve written. Sometimes, a sentence that seemed perfectly okay will sound strange when you hear it read out loud. This is a clue that you might want to change the way the sentence is structured, or maybe there’s a verb in the wrong format.

As you’re building your proofreading skills, you can also ask a native speaker of English to try reading your paper out loud. The native speaker doesn’t have to be an English major or even have good grammar skills, because he’s not going to give you grammar advice. He’s just going to read the paper. As he reads, listen to his voice. Does he trip up over certain sentences or phrases? This is a place where you might need to make some grammatical changes.

Proofreading might not be the most exciting part of writing, but with practice, it does get easier. I promise!


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