From my editor – Rebecca Feinstein: You’ve gotten all your thoughts not only down on paper but organized as well. And you hspell-checkedcked the document as well, but before you send off that report or manual, you want to take some time to proof and review your work further.
The Proof is in the Review
Proofing and reviewing your writing work a reiterative process, meaning that you will perform again and again throughout the document life cycle. Yes, you’ve run the spell checker for misspelled words and grammar usage, so why do this when you have spell checked your document for grammar as well as spelling? Simple, spell check programs aren’t programmed to check for all proper word usage. There have been many times when I’ve checked a document and found a ‘too’ when there should have been a ‘to’ or ‘two’ used instead.
Reading Between the Lines
Another item to check your document for is for tone. The tone of a document helps the readability of the document. Using a passive voiced words/sentence structures doesn’t clarify the information contained in your document. You can Google active voice words and or phrases for a list of words to use/not to use.
A good one is http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/543/02/.
Read Out Loud
One last thought, read the document out loud. Believe it or not, you can get more from reading out loud than simple reading in your head. This is important especially when you are editing your own material because your mind automatically adds the information that is missing from your actual document. With a lot of companies downsizing, we are all doing more with less time. Getting people to edit your document can be hard to do, this is where technical writers for a company can come in handy for other people who write their own material, just be sure to ask the writer’s manager first!
Republished by permission from Rebecca Feinstein. Original article published 17 July 2011, is located at http://rebeccafeinstein.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/proofing-and-reviewing-your-work/