Yes, simple rereading will catch mistakes. But it won’t catch the big ones, and it’s even less likely to catch the little ones.
Here are editing and proofreading tips that are better suited for email.
Do you reread your emails before sending them?
I didn’t for routine emails until I recently noticed more mistakes cropping up. Not so much spelling or grammar as leaving out whole words. Now I make it a habit to reread my outgoing email, even the short ones.
However, in researching this week’s best practice I was surprised to discover how I’m still missing errors – a simple rereading is not nearly as effective as I thought.
What works best for email?
I researched editing suggestions from both email experts and from print proofreaders/copyeditors. No lack of suggestions but most was too general from the email experts, and too arduous (for email) from the print media side.
So I came up with my own practical guide for editing outgoing email.
PRACTICAL EDITING TIPS TAILORED FOR EMAIL
Edit in two passes. That’s right – twice.
We use different parts of our brain to catch the two types of errors we all make. Simple rereading attempts to catch both at the same time, something experts say is not effective.
The two passes (simplified from conventional editing terms):
Editing Pass – make it clear and concise.
The Editing Pass (catch the big stuff)
This is the pass to say what you mean, and mean what you say.
The Proofreading Pass (catch the little stuff)
This time you are looking for spelling mistakes, typos, incorrect words.
Pause between writing and editing/sending
I’m a huge fan of this. My writing becomes infinitely clearer and much more concise when I edit the next day. We can’t afford to do this often, but waiting until tomorrow to edit important (or widely-distributed) emails really does work.
Isn’t this a lot of work?
No. It’s actually more efficient. It’s also easier than you think: