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Proofreading Your Content and Code

Robin’s Blog article on “Proofreading Javascript”, is a great article on how to not only proofread javascript, but all HTML, CSS, PHP, and other programming codes and languages. A lot of tips she offers also covers how to proofread your content.

1. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Then proofread more.

2. JavaScript is case sensitive, MyVar is different from myvar.

…9. Check to be sure that correct casing has been used. Generally, this means using only lower case for all HTML tags and attributes. Use upper case or upper-and-lower case only in content or values that your site visitor will see, to comply with standard English usage.

…11. If you can’t find an error in your code on the computer monitor, print the code and proofread it again. Place a straight-edge under each line of code to proofread it more accurately.

…12. Use an HTML validator to help find mistakes in code. Open your page in Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver will highlight some HTML code errors.

…14. Be sure to test your pages on several different browsers.

…15. Have a friend proofread your code and content.

…16. Take a break. It’s easy to miss errors when you have been reading something for too long.

…17. Use a spell checker.

…18. Read your content out loud.

The last set are excellent for proofreading your content. Start with spell check, then read it out loud, and then have a friend read it. Be careful to explain you want it checked for errors, not rewritten. ;-)

Take a break is very important. I often write an article, then go onto another one, before coming back and checking the first one for errors. I often catch tiny glitches I overlooked before.

I have written more than a lifetime’s share of technical manuals, tedious transcriptions, and legal rambling. Bored with the topic, I find it helps to proof the material by reading it backwards, letter by letter or word by word. I catch a lot of errors that way as it forces my brain to break it’s familiar patterns.

If I can’t find the error, I take a break and then change the rules. If I’m proofing on the screen, I’ll print out a copy and go over the paper. If I’m really frustrated, I’ll pack up my computer and take it to another room or outside, changing the working environment. I do whatever it takes to change the way I’m proofing the material, which interrupts the “traditional” method and forces my brain to think from a new perspective.

I’ve found that when I’m really stuck with proofreading content, or especially when some bit of code is making me completely bonkers, I will explain it someone else. Typically, that’s my husband who has learned HTML, CSS, and PHP by osmosis. ;-) I’ll explain it to him in way too much detail, and in the process my head will go ping and I’ll get the light bulb clue of what needs to be fixed. I’ll interrupt myself with a “I got it!” shout and turn to the computer and fix it, and he will sigh with relief.

So what are your proofreading tips and tricks?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

4 Comments

  1. Posted June 26, 2006 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, to proofread articles and blog posts, I read them aloud too…to my dogs. There’s a triple benefit: I get to hear how the article sounds (and fix the messy sentences), the dogs love the attention, and I get loving and inquisitive looks, assuring me my posts much be on the verge of sheer brilliance!

  2. Posted June 26, 2006 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Actually, nobody knows how to spell “separate”. I hate “seperete” or “seperate”!

    As for editing blatant typos in comments – absolutely. I hate it when I hit submit and then spot an error, so I assume others like it when I fix their boo boos. Makes them look more intelligent. But blatant errors in dumb comments I leave. Just goes to show how “intelligent” the commenter is. ;-)

  3. Posted June 27, 2006 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    The way I proofread is that after having written the article, I read it at least two or three times. When I am satisfied I can come up with no further preenings, I keep it for at least an hour or so–sometimes for a day or more. Then, after a break, I come back to it. This is very effective. I have been quite successful using this method.


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] hit the publish post button. I need to take more time after writing to let the post sit so I can come back to read it with fresh eyes to make sure it is good and makes sense. As I wrote about in a recent post, I need to make sure the [...]

  2. [...] must remember to read over it (or have a trusted  acquaintance read over it for you). This goes not only for content, but code as well. The content bit makes sense. Pointless typos can just make you look silly, or even worse, [...]

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