Proofreading can make a Difference!

DK Jordan By DK Jordan, 24th Oct 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Proofread, proofread, proofread. Oh yeah, did I say proofread? Little errors can really irritate your reader. Don't let your reader become annoyed and lose interest. Here's some examples of my recent findings and some helpful hints to avoid the no proofread trash bin.

Little Errors are a BIG Turnoff!

Reading along in a book, newspaper, magazine, on a Kindle, etc., it’s all too common to find simple mistakes that really get on people’s nerves. It may not bother all people, but it does bother a large majority. Many will be so irritated by the lack of professionalism they will stop reading whatever it is and turn to another source for enjoyment or information.

It’s kind of expected once you get something published whether in print or on the internet, self-published or through paid publishing, that your end product will be free of simple misspell errors, spacing errors, and word misuse errors.

I’m not talking about big, grotesque grammatical slap-your-English-teacher-in-the-face errors. These are just the simple ones that seem to slip past the proofing systems being used. I don’t know if it’s the computer or the eyes of the artist, but it certainly seems another set of eyes (human ones) would benefit a large amount of publications.

For instance, reading along on a Kindle audiobook from Audio.com on the very first page there is a period that should have a space after it. This is not some after-market republish. It’s a mainstream author’s very popular work. It is really disheartening to be reading a book about writing and find such simple errors.

More recent examples are a textbook for an MBA program and an alternative health textbook both with misspellings and word misuse. It is sometimes hard to take a subject seriously when the student sees blatant errors in a “professional” book or document.

Proofing Makes a BIG Difference

Here’s a series of sentences. Take a look and see which one reads the best for you. Do the errors bother you? Do you lose faith in the message because of little mistakes?

• Diabetes is a multi-organ disease process that contributes too millions of deaths every year.Instances of diabetes are rising in the United States at frightening rates.
• Diabetes is a multi-organ disease process that contributes to millions of deaths every year. Instances of diabetes are rising in the United States at frightening rates.

• Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease caused by a recessive gene from both parents. Their may be no fore-knowledge of the disease. It can appear in a family were it was never known to exist.
• Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease caused by a recessive gene from both parents. There may be no foreknowledge of the disease. It can appear in a family where it was never known to exist.


• As Rachel’s chest rose and fell the last time, Charles’s expression became more blackened. Rising from the antiquated captain’s chair stiffened as though the rigormortis had begun to set in him, Charles was just in time to thwart off the well-meaning condolences of Abigail VanBuren. Raising his hand with an air of emphatic dismissal, he turned and exited the room leaving his wife of seven years staring and gaping mouthed at what had just occurred.
• As Rachels chest rose and feel the last time, Charles expression became more blackened. Rising from the antiquated captains chair stiffened as though the rigormortis had begun to set in him, Charles was just in time to thwart off the well-meaning condolences of Abigail VanBuren. Raising his hand with and air of emphatic dismissal, he turned and exited the room leaving his wife staring with gaping mouth at what had just occurred.

One doesn’t even have to be able to identify all the errors present in the sentences above to feel that something is not quite right in them. Incorrect punctuation, possessives, hyphenation, spacing, etc. can lose the reader’s interest as quickly as a boring plot or explanation.

Where to find help?

There are a multitude of services available to assist you in your journey to grammatically correct writing. Depending on the purpose for your writing you may seek out different avenues of assistance. Below you will find several ideas to begin your pursuit for the perfect proofreader to help tidy up your presentation. Regardless of what you are presenting, correct format, punctuation, and use of the English language are imperative and could make the difference in your success or failure. So, take a look at the list below and seek out the type of help most appropriate for you.

• Learning labs at your local college. These are often associated with a writing lab, the English department, or perhaps the library.

• You can find many resources online to help you improve your own skills if you have the time and the impulse to do so. The Owl at Purdue is an excellent resource for anyone looking to improve on their own.

• There are many paying services offering varied levels of proofreading, editing, and even writing assistance. One such entity is grammerly.com. They will offer you a 7-day free trial and then rates from $7.95 a month to $19.95 a month depending on the length of time you sign up for. A long trusted method of proofing and editing your work is a trusted friend or family member. Of course, depending on the importance of what you are writing, you should consider who you have taking a look at it for you. In general though, this is a good method because these people have your best interest at heart.

• Finally, the best methodology above and beyond all else, is your own eyes. The best way to not have writer’s bias is to write your paper, essay, presentation, chapter, etc. in advance of its due date. After a couple of days have passed go back and reread it to make both grammatical and contextual corrections. You may be surprised what you will find.

Tags

Editing Grammar, Proofreader, Proofreading

Meet the author

author avatar DK Jordan
I am a passionate writer and reader. I am a nurse so I will have a healthcare focus at times. I am also a mother of disabled adult children and a grandmother raising grandkids. So, you'll hear about diversity of families and the challenges of blended...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
24th Oct 2010 (#)

Everyone makes mistakes, I too often look back at things I thought I had proofread and find mistakes months later.

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author avatar Michael LaRocca
24th Oct 2010 (#)

I've been an editor for about 20 years and an author for about 40 years. I've got to say that I've never met an author, myself included, who didn't need "another set of eyes" to clean up his or her writing. It's just too easy to see what you thought you were writing, and thus to miss what you really did write.

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author avatar DK Jordan
25th Oct 2010 (#)

Very well put Michael. Thanks for the input!

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