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09 Jan 10 Putting The Finishing Touches On An Article

So you’ve just written an article, and you’re just about to publish it, when you realize you’ve left a grammar error or two.  But then that’s extremely common, especially if you don’t take the proper editing steps once the first draft of your article is complete.  A piece is never finished until you’ve given it a good run through a few times, to clean out the errors and structure.  Here are a few tips to make an article better, once you’ve finished that first draft.

Spell check, spell check, spell check.  There’s a reason word processors come with spell checkers, take advantage of clicking that  button.  Spellchecker won’t catch everything, but it will catch some mistakes that you may have missed.  But remember to double check spellchecker, because computer spell check programs don’t factor context into it’s suggestions.  Spell check could tell you to change a word, when in fact you’ve committed no spelling error.  Which is where the next step comes in handy.

Any word you’re unsure about, don’t hesitate to look up in a dictionary.  The internet has a wealth of free dictionaries online, take full advantage.  Double check a word to make sure your usage is correct, and that your spelling is proper.

Now read through your article.  This step is most useful when you read your article aloud.  That will give you a good idea of how somebody else will be reading your article.  Check sentence structure, as well as paragraph length and make sure both flow.  If you find a sentence getting muddy, tidy it up a little as you go.  Then give a quick re-read after you’ve made your changes to ensure the article flows effectively.

From there do one last check for errors.  Usually it helps to go through your article backwards.  When you read normally there are still grammatical errors that you could miss.  By reading backwards your brain can’t make sense of a sentence, so individual words and punctuation marks will stand out more.  This way you can double check your spelling, and punctuation, and make sure all the untidy bits are properly corrected.

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