What is Proofreading? - Definition & Symbols

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  • 0:01 Proofreading Defined
  • 1:31 Proofreading Symbols
  • 1:49 Spelling & Grammar
  • 2:25 Punctuation
  • 2:45 Formatting
  • 3:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Stacy Chambers
Proofreading is the process of looking for and correcting errors in your work. Learn how to proofread accurately and effectively before submitting anything you write.

Proofreading Defined

Imagine you want to cull your book collection, and you put a few books for sale online. You intend to price one book at $15.00, but you misplace the period and accidentally price the book at $1.50. Not bothering to check over your work, you go to bed. The next morning, you go online to find that you sold your book! Yay! It is only then that you realize the book sold for far less than you wanted. Now you've lost $13.50, the price of a matinee movie.

Proofreading is the process of finding and correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting errors. If you had proofread your book listing, you would've been able to afford that matinee show. Proofreading errors, even if they cost nothing as far as money, can be pretty embarrassing. Failing to properly proofread your material before it leaves your desk can not only be embarrassing, but also lead to miscommunication.

Proofreading is the last step in your writing and editing process. You should have written and edited your work for general coherence and flow before proofreading. In the publishing world, there are several stages of editing before the proofreading stage, including substantive editing and copy or line editing. However, when you are revising your own work, you'll probably combine line editing, a grammar and spelling check, with proofreading, checking for typos, formatting and style.

Proofreading Symbols

Proofreading symbols are designed to save you time while improving the quality of your work. You can use these symbols to correct misspellings, punctuation errors, and even formatting issues. On screen are the most commonly used symbols. You can find more on the Chicago Manual of Style's website.

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