You Can Handle the Proof

December 11, 2017


A Quick Look at Copy Proofing, an Underrated Weapon for Improving Writing


Typo Wars

People are scouring the web calling out typos on copy in comments. This battle among innocently placed typographical and grammatical mishaps versus the internet hitmen who hate them is ridiculous, but real. Do not leave your written words powerless against the slander of the villainous correctors. The Typo Wars are upon us and copy proofing, commonly called proofreading, is a weapon that frees you from victimhood and saves your words from the casualties that are so common when posts go live.


Proofreading is the process of having writing checked for errors in spelling, punctuation, and other avoidable nuisances that strip well-meaning text of its value. Language Arts teachers typically realize that some of their young writers are skipping the proofreading stage when it comes to class assignments. It shows in the work. It also tends to show in the professional realm as wise leaders in respective industries continue to find individuals and organizations suffering the slings and arrows of misrepresentation by misprint -- though it need not be so.


Pest Control

Let this be acknowledged; typos are showoffs that are dying to be seen. And boy do these pests stink up some written work. Thankfully, making use of the solution for keeping sneaky errors under control -- proofreading -- is simple enough. So, what might it look like when a proofreader takes action on a piece of copy? In front of a hardcopy version of the written work to be proofed is where we lay our scene.


First, the draft is given the vocal readthrough treatment. Equipped with a checklist that guides the process, a proofreader reads the draft aloud, taking care to track each character line-by-line-by-line-by-line. The point here is to address a range of errors that taint the draft. Any errors are identified by specific proofreading marks, the collection of special symbols that signify what actions should be taken to make the corrections.


After the text’s body has been carefully and systematically searched for errors, the proofreader moves to tighten up all ancillary portions of the writing at hand. This work ensures that the aesthetic is platinum and that the captions, headings, and footnotes are fitting.


Next, rinse and repeat. The needed revisions that are highlighted by proofreading marks are made, then the process is carried on again with the same excruciating attention to detail.


A DIY Endeavor?

There are a few options for getting writing proofread. The most accessible of these options is the good ‘ol do-it-yourself course of attack, and this is the place to start. However, writers who proofread their own work are more likely to overlook errors, and this is not just anecdotal.


You may elect to entrust the task of proofreading to other people, like family members, peers, or colleagues. This presents the benefit of a fresh set of eyes disconnected from the drafting phase and is a good option.


An even better bet is to commission the talents of someone with the specialized set of proofreading skills. A copy proofing specialist is experienced in applying proper writing mechanics and usage to fix the writing of others. Their familiarity and frequent application of proofreading marks means that their suggestions will be consistent and clear.


Of course, anointing the writing that has been prepared with a combination of each of these options is the strongest move to make. Yes, proofreading is a do-it-yourself endeavor, but you shouldn’t be the sole performer of the duty.


Smelling Good and Looking Fine

There are commonsense benefits to having a proofreader go through your copy. A1 copy proofing ensures that the last draft of writing meets the requirements of final presentation. As such, it is the last step before publishing your work to broadcast to your audience.


Copy proofing makes organizations and individuals look good. It is the fresh haircut, well-coordinated attire, spritz of smellgood, and mani/pedi that boosts the surface-level attractiveness of words on screen or page.


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