This page supplements material from my book 7 Steps to Better Writing. It provides videos that amplify the chapter “Step 7 – Proof.”
How to Proof
In the following video, David Taylor discusses the importance of proofreading. He advocates:
- Use a text reader to read your composition back to you
- Use a electronic grammar checker
- Get a friend or coworker to work with you to read your document out loud
- Print the material; or, if restricted to working electronically, reformat the text in a different font or layout (such as changing it to multi-columns)
- Read the text slowly and aloud while holding a ruler under each line
Grammar and Style Checkers
In the above video, published in 2018, Taylor supported the used of Grammarly. On the other hand, he objected to its high price. I agree. Grammarly is expensive. While helpful, Grammarly is unnecessary if you use the full capability of Microsoft Word.
On several occasions I have searched long and hard for articles that compare Grammarly against Microsoft Word’s grammar and style checker. While I have found lot of articles, none of them have satisfied me as being both thorough and unbiased. I suspect most bloggers writing on this topic are influenced by Grammarly’s affiliate program, which pays writers for referring their readers to Grammarly.
Another problem with comparisons of Grammarly to Word is failing to engage Word’s style checker, thus handicapping Word. By default Word’s style feature is turned off; so it must be activated. Once the style features are fully engaged, Word’s grammar and style checker performs just as well as Grammarly.
With this as background, I was delighted when I found the following 2019 video by Madhsudhan Khemchandani. Making an unbiased, empirical comparison test of Grammarly versus Microsoft Word, he shows that Grammarly and Word are equally effective, although there are small differences. I hope other people will make additional and more comprehensive comparison studies. I thank Khemchandani for leading the way.
As Khemchandani states, none of the programs are perfect. So while they are helpful, neither is sufficient. Rather, full and complete proofreading still requires a person familiar with the topic and skilled with the language.
In the following video from 2020, David Taylor shows how to use the spelling and grammar checker in Word 365.
If you want to employ the full power of Word’s Editor, check more of the options, such as, Clarity and Conciseness, Formal Language, Inclusive Language, Punctuation Conventions, Space Between Sentences, etc.
The following video shows how to active Microsoft Word’s Read Aloud and Speak features.
If your document is highly important, you need to check and double check all aspects of what you have written. Ask, “Is the…
- Content accurate and complete?
- Logic sound?
- Presentation of ideas clear?
- Wording concise?
- Composition rhetorically strong?
- Spelling correct?
- Grammar right?
- Document well designed?
- Text attractively and consistently formatted?