Wonderful. I have to proofread 68 pages (not including the ones we/they haven't written yet, which is at least 30 more pieces) of prose and poetry written by my peers, who mostly think the group (class, whatever; semantics) is just blow-off time. Ughhhhh. T^T My brain feels like shit (probably just because I'm dehydrated), my pile of homework is still full (and I can't stay up til 11:59 doing it because it's on the computer, which I don't have access to past 9:15, and I can't do it on my phone), I think I have a states speech competition in four days (and I haven't memorized the speech, which still needs revising, which I'm not doing), and I need sleep.
But mostly, I just need to proofread a bunch of stuff. Any quick-proofread tips?
Oh the joy of bulk proofreading. Half of making it go quickly is simply practice. The more you do it, the easier it is to spot things. But in terms of tips:
-Set some goals for your proofreading. What are you watching for? Spelling? Grammar? Word flow? Word or syllable count (like for poetry)? If proofreading is an assignment or something, then specifically watch for whatever is requested of you.
-List out those above things you're watching for, then make that the focus of your proofreading. A piece of writing may be written averagely overall, but if it's mechanically sound then that's not your concern. Your job as a proofreader (I assume) is to not fix or improve their creative vision, but to simply clean up what they've written and make it as presentable as possible.
-I'll add some emphasis: reading someone's piece for enjoyability and how they can improve that is different than proofreading, which usually only focuses on writing mechanics. A full review of something involves both sides of it. Something can be enjoyable but have a ton of mechanical issues. Or something can be really cleanly written, but bland to read.
-When proofreading short prose pieces, I'll commonly do it from bottom to top so I'm focusing more on the mechanics of each line, rather than what's actually being written as a whole. Poetry I always read top to bottom regardless, since there's usually more rules and word flow involved.
-Fix up the grammar so it's appropriate to your grade level. Even teachers make small errors, and one could spend all day trying to research every obscure rule to make something perfect. Even after all the research, certain rules can be unclear because there's inconstancies between different countries and how rules are taught. Try not to overthink it, otherwise you'll start spending too much time getting caught up on little things. If it reads cleanly to the best of your knowledge, then it's likely good enough for your classmates.
-I'll usually proofread something 2-3 times before calling it done. The first time I broadly look for major issues and fix them. The second time I look for minor issues and fix them. The third time is more optional, but I like to do it as a final look to make sure it looks acceptable. By layering the process in 2-3 sweeps, instead of doing it all at once, it helps me not get too caught on singular lines which can slow you down the more you reread the same one. This is more a personal preference. Other people may be perfectly fine proofreading top to bottom in a single lookover.
-Reading out loud can be helpful for some people in spotting issues.
-Sometimes you'll notice certain habitual mistakes that crop up more often than others. It can be easier to spot an issue if you anticipate it'll keep happening.
-Lastly I'll echo mizal here. If someone is clearly putting no effort into their writing, don't feel inclined to put much effort into your proofreading either. Put in the effort that they put in. Just catch some of the big/obvious things and that's good enough, as long as you're meeting the expectations of your role. Quick proofreading falls under 1 sweep, instead of doing the full 2-3. On the flip side, if a couple people are clearly working hard on their writing, then acknowledge that effort with extra time making it as clean as possible for them (as time allows).
Edit: To add a little more to that last point. It's mainly about managing your limited time in ways that's most helpful for as many people as possible. If you had unlimited time and energy to proofread everything, then I always encourage people give their 110% at it even if some of the writing is less than inspired. When under strict time constraints, then it's important to manage it wisely and prioritize extra effort where you know it'll be most productive for everybody you're helping out.
Someone needs to commend this.
^ yeah. Several of Iron's posts deserve commendations.
IRONPANTHER IS UNAPPRICIATED IN HIS TIME
I may not be a proofreading pro, but I know this: If it's on a computer, on they keep making the same mistake over and over again (Such as spelling mistakes), you can use Ctrl+F to use the Find function and speed up your search for those mistakes.
(Fake proofreading practice: Find my mistake. Completely stupid idea by me.)
"...on they keep making"
^ "or" not "on"
I was completely expecting no reply to this. But since you did, you actually did get it wrong. It should be "and" not "on". Oh well, like I said, completely fake and stupid idea by me.
A probably much more helpful tip when I proofread any work I do is to grab a highlighter (or, if on a computer, just use the highlighter function or something similar), and whenever I find a spot in the proofreading where it might be wrong, but I'm not completely sure it is a mistake or needs to be corrected, I highlight it and come back to it later.
Example: "I went the to store." If I wasn't completely sure it should be "I went to the store." instead of the original, I'd highlight it and come back later to see if I can't figure it out, maybe with a little help from a friend or the internet.