A trick for proofreading

It is difficult to proofread. Our brains are wired to make us overlook our own mistakes.

Here is a neat little trick for better proofreading – read your sentences backwards, word-by-word.

By reading backwards, we make it harder for our brains to read a piece of text. The counter-intuitive truth is that whatever makes the task of reading harder makes it easier for us to spot errors. You are less likely to be tricked by a riddle when it is written out in smaller font with the letters barely legible. When we are cognitively strained, our brains are more alert for errors.

When we perform a hard task, we are prone to making mistakes. Interestingly, straining to check for errors has the opposite effect – the mistakes pop right out of the page.

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