2 “Secret Weapons”

What I If Told You…

You that read wrong. You read that that wrong, too. Here’s why:

My two proofreading “secret weapons” are based on the same principle that makes the little trick above work.  Namely, that reading is something your mind does unconsciously.

You see the words, and you hear them in your head.  It all happens automatically, unless you come across a word you don’t see everyday.  That’s why people don’t notice most spelling and grammar errors.  So how do you trick your mind into reading consciously?

1. Reading Aloud

Reading aloud works because, while you don’t read consciously, you DO speak consciously.

When you read out loud it makes your brain switch from unconscious to conscious reading.  It’s surprising how big a difference this makes.  You’ll notice errors almost automatically.

This next one is something I’ve never seen any proofreader mention:

2. The Fonts

When you read the same text over and over, your brain actually gets used to the font, causing the text to slip farther and farther below your awareness.  It’s the principle behind, “If everything is bolded, nothing is bolded.”  If you change the font from a serif (the kind with feet like the sub-headlines on this site) to a sans-serif font (like this body text) or vice versa, your brain thinks it’s seeing the text anew.

You’ll catch more mistakes this way.

Of course, experience and training make the biggest difference in proofreading skills.  If you’d like to borrow mine, you can contact me about a job through the Get In Touch page.

-Donna Cicotte

P.S. Incidentally, the font trick I showed you is the reason you’ll see headlines and sub-headlines in one font and body text in another on many sites and in most publications.  It shakes the reader awake and makes the text easier to read.

P.P.S. I also have a few other tricks up my sleeve, but I can’t go ahead and give everything away now, can I? 😉


Peerless Proofreading
1091 Moerike Road
Canyon Lake, TX  78133