Read your paper aloud, and you will catch more errors. Almost everyone of my high school English teachers recommended that strategy, and for the most part, it works wonders. It has its limitations though.
For starters, if spellchecker suggests “defiantly” after I misspell “definitely,” I still read out “definitely” because that’s what I meant to say. Additionally, I have a habit of reading out the word or phrase I meant to type rather than the word or phrase that is actually on the page. Finally, I can put my own inflection into my reading, which means that sentences sound fine to me even if other readers may have difficulty parsing out what I meant.
For those reasons, I think the better way of hearing errors is to bring in a robot, specifically the one that lives inside your computer’s text-to-speech program.
Text-to-speech programs read text from your screen aloud in a robotic-sounding voice with little inflection. They are great tools for proofreading because they solve all three of the shortcomings listed above. The computer reads what is on the screen no matter what you meant to type, and errors become a lot more apparent. Further, the relative monotone of the computer-generated voice also means that wordy or awkward sections sound wordy and awkward. Continue reading ‘Better proofreading through robots’