The 5 Most Common Editing And Proofreading Mistakes

Are these the most common editing and proofreading mistakes?

“Although editing and proofreading are often mentioned together, they are two different things. Editing means improving writing to put a message across in the best way. Proofreading means checking to ensure the writing is technically and aesthetically sound.” (From 18 Things Writers Need To Know About Editing And Proofreading)

The process of editing and proofreading becomes even more fraught for freelance writers who often have to edit and proofread their own work.

Donna Radley, one of our regular contributors, has an explanation for this.

She says, “When you’re doing a high level task like writing an article, your brain generalises the simpler components of what you’re doing (like turning letters into words). This frees up ‘brain processing capacity’ for the more complex components of the task (like conveying a complex idea). This is bad news for editing your own work. Your brain is already familiar with the words, so it tunes out the details.” [Read her post: 3 Essential Editing Tips For Writers]

Dean Evans has come up with these 5 Common Proofreading Mistakes Bloggers and Web Writers Make 

He says, “When blogging or writing for the web, speedy content publishing is often critical. So much so that it’s easy for bloggers and web writers to abandon proofreading to work with a ‘publish now, fix errors later’ strategy…. You can improve the accuracy and effectiveness of your content by understanding why mistakes creep in and why you don’t spot them.”

He identifies these five common mistakes made by writers who edit their own work:

  1. Not reading the content out loud.
  2. Trusting a spell checker.
  3. Assuming certain words are correct.
  4. Being too familiar with the content.
  5. Editing rather than proofreading.

Please follow this link to read the rest of the article with examples for each mistake.

We hope these tips help you to improve your writing.


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Posted on: 8th August 2016

3 thoughts on “The 5 Most Common Editing And Proofreading Mistakes”

  1. I would like to say that there is a better way to deal with #4. It happoens a lot on my line of work, graphic arts, typsetting and programming. After a while, and after you’ve gotne through umpteen revisions you see what you know should be there. That’s the truth. The fix? Look at something else for a while. In writing this can be as simple as taking a break. Working on something else for a while so youir mind and eyes have to shift gears.

    If time is a constraint then you can help this by taking frequent switch breaks while working on thing, but you should make sure that what you switch to is different from what you switch from. Do not switch from one wall of text to another, or one blob of colour to another.

    If you’re working on text, then start up a hidden object game in another window and play around of it, about 10-15 minutes for every hour of work. It may seem counter productive but in truth it prevents the text shape from burning into your mind.

    If you’re working with picture you can break it up by diving in some TV Tropes. or Wiki articles.

  2. Cherie Mitchell

    I was given a great tip for proofreading / editing, especially if you’ve just completed the work and your head is still full of the content; read it back, one sentence at a time, from the bottom backwards. You will have to concentrate more, and you have to deal with just one sentence at a time instead of allowing your brain to skip through.

  3. You’re right! It is so easy for one to read what he thinks he wrote! As I read the writing of others, I can easily see homonym errors they have made.

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