A good proofreader, given a realistic amount of time, will pick up not only any typos, but also, help you to avoid the worst grammar gaffes.
I could give you my top ten proofreading and editing tips such as the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect or when to use ‘its’ and when to use ‘it’s’. However, you’ll find the common tips on many websites. Besides, there’s a great little comic from The Oatmeal that will give you a pretty good top ten.
Here are some errors I picked up in client copy given to me recently. (I’m not making these up. I don’t need to.)
“Businesses, which are sitting on record cash hordes,…” (Uncomfortable. Try hoards.)
“Dehli Dreams” (Try Delhi. It’s easier to find on an atlas.)
“Katmandhu” (I confess to checking this every time to be sure; it’s Kathmandu.)
“…credit approval criteria applies.” (‘Criteria’ is a plural word; should be ‘…credit approval criteria apply’.)
“…and ultimately create a more productive” (A more productive what? The sentence ended on ‘productive’.)
“…have may the best research…” (may have)
“…for all enquires, call…” (It’s ‘enquiries’…and even I’ve missed this on first pass sometimes.)
The last three examples illustrate the importance of reading your copy word by word and, if you have time, syllable by syllable. If you don’t do this, there’s the chance that your eyes will ‘self-correct’. You wrote the copy; you know what it says so you are likely to gloss over errors such as those shown above.
I have decades of experience but, given the time, I read copy syllable by syllable – and I keep a dictionary handy at all times. If you are about to buy a dictionary, I suggest buying a Collins. The Macquarie is fine and the Oxford is great if you want to know the derivation of words. However, if you need to know whether to write ‘re-ignite’ or ‘reignite’, then Collins is your friend.
Happy writing and think of me when you get stuck.