After the Deadline

Two Tricks for Tracking Down Typos

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle W. on October 7, 2014

How many times has this happened to you: you write a post, read it through seventeen times, hit “publish,” and then immediately spot an error in the published post?

If it never has, lucky you! Would you mind proofreading ours? 🙂

For the rest of us, it’s an all-too-frequent occurrence. We’ve been sharing resources for improving your eye for detail throughout the year, and here are two more tricks to try today.

Read backwards.

Part of proofreading is being able to slow down and focus enough to stop your brain from correcting typos or filling in gaps before you notice them. Reading your work backward forces you to stop and look at each individual word in a way you can’t otherwise — it’s great for catching those final spelling errors.

Change your font.

Similarly, things that cause you to look at your writing in a new light also slow your brain down. Changing your font (or your font’s size/color) only takes a click of the mouse, but transforms your words. A mistake you might have skimmed over becomes unmissable when it’s 30 points high or bright red.

Sometimes, finding that last gaffe means having to trick your brain into noticing it — these are two simple ways to do it that anyone can try, no special tools needed.

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Test Your Eagle Eye

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle W. on July 8, 2014

If you think you’ve mastered the intricate art of proofreading or just want another way to practice, a few minutes of Googling unearths lots of proofreading exercises and tests for all reading and comprehension levels.

To save you those few minutes — more time for proofreading! — here are some to try today. Focus on the aspect of proofing you find the trickiest, or test your general proofing abilities:

You can also find exercises for a range of grammar issues, along with general proofreading/typo identification, at the Dalton State University’s Writing Lab.

Practice makes for perfect proofing!

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Need help improving your proofing? Go back to school!

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle W. on April 8, 2014

Very few of us are able to churn out perfectly error-free writing every time — we’re all constantly editing and proofreading, and many of us are on the lookout for tools and tips to help. (After all, that’s why you use After the Deadline!)

Colleges and universities are great resources for editing and proofing. Many of them have dedicated writing centers for those very purposes, and many of those centers publish online resources that are accessible to the public.

Here are a few we think are especially useful:

You don’t have to go back to school to take advantage of these helpful resources!

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Three More Tools for Your Proofreader’s Toolbox

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle W. on January 10, 2014

Tools like After the Deadline are a great safety net, but you’ll still want to make sure your writing is clear and grammatically correct. Keep upping your grammar game with help from these three sites:

Daily Writing Tips has posts on everything from common grammar errors to homonyms (their, they’re, there) to rules for writing numbers, and beyond. It’s a great one-stop-shop to find answers to common writing questions, as well as the more obscure.

Grammar Girl dishes the dirt on grammar issues large (avoiding the passive voice) and small (knelt, or kneeled?). Best of all, her posts are quick, fun reads.

Apostrophe Abuse is great for a laugh, and for examples of what not to do. If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at a misplaced apostrophe on a flyer or billboard, this blog’s for you.

Hone Your Eye by Reading Out Loud

Posted in Proofing Tips by Michelle W. on August 16, 2013

After the Deadline is a great safety net, but your own critical eye is also an important tool to hone — that’s why we offer proofreading tips along with helpful software. In this post, we want to highlight one of our favorite proofreading methods: reading out loud.

How many times has this happened to you? You draft a new post. It goes through several big revisions, and then endless tweaks (sometimes back to its original wording) until you’re as satisfied as you can be. You give it a last once-over for typos, find none, and send it on its way… only to get a note from readers about typos. You vow to be more vigilant the next time, yet it happens again.

Why? Your brain is skimming over the errors. You’ve been looking at the words for hours and know exactly what they’re supposed to say, so your brain makes sure that’s what you see when you read.

To get your overachieving brain to notice the errors, you’ve got to slow it down. That’s where reading aloud comes in: when you’re reading aloud, sounding out each word as you go, your brain is forced to consider each word independently in a way that doesn’t happen when you’re reading silently.

The next time you need to make absolutely sure your work is typo free, make sure you’re home alone, close the door, and give it a try (and then run After the Deadline as a final check).

And remember — if you’ve a developer interested in working with After the Deadline, there are lots of developer resources available, as well as a Google Group just for you.

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