Ah, typos. We all know we need to avoid them. But somehow, they keep creeping into our work like burger grease creeps onto a favorite shirt.
However, there are some tried-and-true methods to keep sloppy typos out of your work.
Here are 10 tips on how to type an essay that’s error-free.
- Use a spell and grammar checker. These tools are your first line of defense against sloppy errors, so don’t neglect to use them. They will pick up many errors that you might miss. Some word processing programs have better spell check tools than others. The spelling and grammar checkers available on Microsoft Word are among the most thorough.
- Don’t rely too much on these tools. The English language has intricacies that not even your spell check will find. One example would be “there,” “their,” and “they’re.” All three spellings are correct, but they have very different meanings.
- Print out a hard copy for proofreading. When you’ve been staring at a screen for a long time, you can become tired…or just lazy. Proofreading a printed version will make it easier for you to find out the errors.
- Read your paper out loud. Listening to your paper as you read it forces you to hear all kinds of mistakes, whether they be typos or just awkward phrasing. You may even have inspiration strike as you’re reading and find that a perfect phrase or idea just has come to you.
- Try reading backward. When you proofread your own work, your brain automatically sees what it wants to see. By starting with your last sentence and working backward, you can slow down your reading process, forcing you to focus on your words and find errors more easily.
- Get a friend or a tutor to read your paper for you. A fresh pair of eyes will catch many mistakes that you can’t because they have no preconceived ideas about what your paper is supposed to say.
- Use a good style guide. The best style guides clarify the rules of grammar so you can apply them properly to your work. Some of the most helpful style guides include The Chicago Manual of Style and Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.
- Make good use of autocorrect. We all know about autocorrect. But did you know that there are lots of creative ways you can use it to help you avoid typos? For example, if there is one particular error that you make all the time, you can change your settings in “Text Replacement” so that this pesky error can be automatically corrected. You can even configure your settings to correct the wrong number of spaces in your sentences.
- Use mistakes to help you improve. Hey, mistakes happen. But if your paper gets marked off because a spelling or grammar mistake has changed the meaning of your sentence, pay close attention so you will never make the same error again.
- Keep distractions to a minimum. Turn off your phone, including all social media notifications. Lock your door. Turn off the music if you have to. Any little distraction when proofreading can cause you to miss something important.
With these tips, your readers will certainly be impressed with the flawlessness of your next essay.