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Tuesday Tip #22: Read Aloud

This might seem lacking as an editing tip, but reading a document out loud can be a key part to the editing process. We're big advocates of reading aloud (even emails!). It helps us catch small errors known to slip through the cracks. You may be surprised what you stumble across when you try it out!

See what these writers say on reading aloud.

“The best one I know is to read your work out loud. You’ll absolutely pick up mistakes you’d otherwise miss. This is particularly helpful with dialog. If it doesn’t sound like something someone would actually say, it won’t come out of your mouth right. But this technique also helps me hear other mistakes and to find the rhythm of my work. Try it — I think you’ll like it!”

- Claire Cook

“When I hear myself reading out loud, I hear things I don’t hear when I read (silently) to myself. When I read aloud, I always have a pencil in hand. If I feel I’m trying too hard, or I’m being repetitive, I make a mark.”

- David Sedaris

"You’ll spot paragraphs that end abruptly. You’ll notice transitions between ideas aren’t as smooth as you thought they were. You’ll hear if your introduction sounds weak or choppy, and you’ll discover whether your wrap-up encourages conversation or just stops it cold."

- James Chartrand

"Read your piece aloud. This will help you detect any tricky sentences that you have to read twice to understand.”

- Cheryl Snapp Conner

"I believe this is good advice whether or not you will ever read your work aloud (although most writers will at some point read to a group). I read everything out loud, when I'm home alone, always standing up."

- Lisa Romeo



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