The Importance of Proofreading

18 Jun

I have a journalism degree. 

I can write well. 
I can write quickly.

However, I’m not perfect. 
But with a little careful proofreading I certainly work hard to be as perfect as possible. The last few weeks at work proofreading has really come to the forefront. I think I’ve proofread more documents in the last while than I have in a very long time.
Here’s a short list of a few things that I’ve realized are quite common – and are incredibly important. 
-Consistency, consistency, consistency. Sure the majority of people out there will never notice the difference between 7 pm, 7:00pm and 7 p m – even if they’re all written differently in one document. As a reader, I may not even notice…but as a proofreader I notice.
-Use spell-checker…then check again. Just because people say not to rely on spell check, doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it – it just means double check it later. And once you’ve suggested your edits – ALWAYS check that they were made. 
-Clearly indicate changes. Ask the person who has given you the document how they would like you to indicate your changes. Red pen? Highlighted? 
And finally, the best piece of proofreading advice I have after this past week:
-Go hide. Find a quiet room or corner somewhere away from your phone, your email, your colleagues. Take your style guide, your proofreading tips and your dictionary. 
Make the time to focus carefully on what you’re reading. I can’t tell you how much more confident I was in my proofing after 30 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time.
Those are my best proofreading tips thus far. 
I’m a bit cross eyed right now. 

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