Read that to me one more time

When we’ve finished writing a piece, we read it back, perhaps several times. I’ll do that with this article when I’ve got to the end. But what we usually do is to read it back in our head. This is fine, but it might not highlight any awkward phrasing, because, well, we know what we mean. Reading it out loud is an improvement, but getting someone else to read it out loud is better still. If they stumble, it’s probably our fault as the writer.

Not got anyone to do read it out? Almost every PC or mobile device has the ability to do this nowadays. The limitations which machines have in looking ahead can even be an advantage in this exercise – they just read it out, one clause at a time. I just tried it with these two paragraphs, and made a couple of adjustments as a result. Top tip – just listen as it’s read out, don’t read it at the same time.