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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Proofread . . . Proofread . . . and Proofread Again!

Check out this picture. Do you see anything wrong with it?
On a beautiful San Francisco day, my husband and I were walking along the
waterfront, checking out all the signage for the upcoming America’s Cup. One of the murals in particular caught our eye, and when we read the text, we were surprised to discover a glaring error in grammar: “Watch the Epic Battle Closer THEN Ever.” I wonder how many levels of review the artwork for this mural went through before being placed for public view. Obviously it needed one more look.

Through the years I’ve collected binders full of helpful proofreading guidelines. I’d like to share some basic proofreading tips I’ve gleaned from the Grammar Girl:

1. Read your copy backwards. Oftentimes you miss errors because you “know” what should be there. But this method helps you catch errors that you might not find when reading from beginning to end.

2. Read the text out loud. Your ears can catch mistakes that your eyes miss.

3. Proofread a printed version of your copy. I have found that it’s easier to see errors on a hard copy of your work rather than on a computer screen.

4. If possible, set your writing aside for a while before proofreading it. This gives you a chance to clear your mind and look at what you’ve written with fresh eyes. Then you’re better able to focus on the words rather than what you think you wrote.

But the most important tip of all is, when it counts, have several eyes review your copy. Your mantra should always be: proofread . . . proofread . . . and proofread one more time!



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