The proof of the pudding

Posted on February 28, 2020


We WOULD say this, but working at Clearbox involves access to many benefits. One of those benefits is a personal training allowance of £1,000 per year to spend on (pretty much) anything you like. Right now, we have people on HR diplomas, sign language courses and German language classes and recently, we added a new one to our training repertoire. 

Alex decided to use some of her training allowance to attend a workshop on proofreading and she loved it so much, she wanted to write a blog post about it. Disclaimer - the person who edited this blog post has NOT been on a proofreading course so if there are any issues, we’ll see you in the comments! 

I recently had the pleasure of attending AKU training’s proofreading course at The Mount Belfast. And I know what you may be thinking…’how fun’ - but let me tell you, it was a fantastic day and a really interesting presentation. 

The course was presented by Kate McKay, Director at AKU Training and her passion for the subject shone through, which helped to bring the topic to life. The course covered strategies for proofreading, tools to help spot classic grammatical mistakes and methods to recognise common spelling errors. 

The course began with the importance of proofreading and how credibility is at stake when sharing information. As many PR people will know, accuracy of information is vital! 

The course covered: 

  • Spelling  
  • Punctuation
  • Grammar 
  • Consistency 
  • Layout 
  • Data 

We also were given some useful tips:  


Spell-check - this is like a quick rinse and should only take a few minuets with the excellent software we have available to us now, but it’s important to do and saves a lot of time. 

Read aloud - I think I found this the most beneficial tip and when you think about it, speaking is our main form of communication, so saying the words out loud will help you determine if they sound right or not. 

Comparison - it’s always good compare documents with originals and previous versions to confirm you’ve corrected all mistakes and you’re presenting accurate data and information. 

Scan - this is especially useful for checking documents for layout and consistency issues. A quick flick through a document will show any abnormalities such as different font sizes, incorrect titles, no page numbers, etc. 

Reverse - this is a tool that can be used for shorter text proofing such as social posts and press releases. This is where you read the text from right to left, instead of the natural way of left to right. The method insures you read every word carefully, picking up on small mistakes. 

Partner - why not try proofing with a partner (sounds like a fun Saturday night!) but this method can prove the best of all. One person reads something out loud letter for letter, word for word and their partner checks it. 

Multiple reads - last but not least, and probably the best thing you can do to ensure accurate work, read, read and read again. It’s always best to give it to another person for fresh eyes or if you’re a team of one make sure you give yourself a rest from the document so you can come back to it fresh.  

I’ll leave you with this: 

“Whether you think you, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Henry Ford.