GUEST POST — NIKOLAS BARON


Thank you for coming back to visit.

This week I’d like to start with the first of three Guest Blog posts.

Allow me to introduce you to Nikolas Baron.

nik_baron

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.

WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR WHEN YOU ARE PROOFREADING

You agree to pick up the friend of a friend from the airport. Besides the time of his flight, what information do you need to find this stranger amongst the crowd? You need a basic description, an outline of the person’s general appearance. The more details you have, the less likely you are to choose the wrong person. Proofreading is like that. You need to know what to look for, and how to find it. During my tenure at Grammarly, I have seen the same errors echoing through many manuscripts. I have studied the strategies and tools that writers use to increase the accuracy of their writing. With the following tips, you will form a clear picture of what proofreading

  • Let the page cool a little.

Wherever you look for proofreading advice, you are almost certain to find this counsel: Allow some time to pass between the writing and proofreading steps. The time allows you to look at your material with a fresh eye. Your brain will be reinvigorated and ready to render an impartial judgment.

  • Be concise.

An abundance of words creates abundant opportunity for error. Try to say things in as few words as possible. Simple, short sentences are easy for readers to understand, and they minimize the chance of error.

  • Read it forwards and backwards.

No doubt, all proofreaders read documents over, searching for grammar goofs. I found this surprising proofreading tip online: Read the document

  • Study yourself.

Some fans of famous authors can identify the writer by a few pages of their latest novel. Why? Everyone writes in a certain way that is individualized, as unique as one’s sense of fashion. Authors also tend to use the same tone grammar help, do online research or take an English class at your local community college.

  • Read it like you mean it.

Read your piece aloud. Reading aloud slows you down. You will be able to hear how the language sounds and decide if your thoughts are clearly stated. If something sounds awkward, change it or mark it so that you can return and rephrase later. Alternately, ask a friend to read the document to you. Pretend that you are one of your readers. Does it all make sense? If not, you know what to do!

  • Do it all over again.

Have you ever found errors in a document that you thought you had proofread thoroughly? There is no limit to the times that you can revise an essay, or the amount of different people that you can ask for feedback. So, revise and consult colleagues with wild abandon. Even if you no longer find grammatical offenses, you might think of better ways to express your thoughts.

This article is just a sketch of what proofreading “looks like.” As a writer, you will develop your own set of strategies to perfect your documents. Equipped with the tools here, you might want to revisit abandoned or unpublished manuscripts that you have filed away. With a little polishing, your writing will be ready for takeoff.

By Nikolas Baron

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