Copy is one of the most important aspects of a yearbook, and proofreading is essential to good copy. There’s nothing worse than receiving your beautifully bound yearbook that you put so much work into, opening it up to the first page, and realizing you’ve misspelled the name of your school’s principal. Fortunately for you, we have some helpful proofreading tips that will prevent this from happening!
- Print it out. Text is usually easier to read on paper than on a computer screen. You also have more freedom to mark grammar errors and changes.
- Read it backwards (sentence by sentence). This trick is especially helpful if you are proofreading your own writing. We can often fill in words that aren’t there and miss mistakes in our own work. Reading text backwards will require you to slow down and look at the copy sentence by sentence.
- Read it aloud. When you’re reading text quietly, you can be focused on what it says rather than how it sounds. Reading aloud will help to reveal sentence fragments and problems with sentence flow. It will also help you discover whether the text as a whole makes sense to the reader.
- Pay special attention to person, tense, subject-verb agreement, pronouns and punctuation. These common errors are easy to miss if you aren’t looking for them particularly. Go through the text, checking one of these at a time.
- Don’t depend completely on spell-check. Automatic spelling and grammar checkers are an extremely useful when it comes to writing. However, spell-check doesn’t catch everything.
- Proofread your text every time you make a change. It’s easy to make an unintended change when you are revising a paper. Read all the way back through the text after making changes to make sure everything still flows well together and is grammatically correct.
- Find a proofing partner. Four eyes are better than two. Once you’ve proofed it yourself, send your text to someone else to look over. They may see mistakes that you missed or have suggestions to make the overall text better.
Bonus Tip: Try using the “find” tool in a document to search for words you tend to overuse (e.g. very, more, really), pronoun use, and punctuation. To use the find tool, push Ctrl+F (PC) or Command+F (Mac). If the find tool is available, a box will pop up where you can type in any word/punctuation you want to search for in the document.
We hope these proofreading tips will save you from those unfortunate grammar and spelling errors. For more tips on building a memorable yearbook, follow us on Pinterest.