Proofreading Is Essential; Here’s How to Do It
- On July 6, 2021
The panty will be open.
That sounds vaguely pornographic, but there it was in an email alerting me to some upcoming construction work in a building I frequent. Clearly the person who wrote it meant to say pantry instead.
Typos are one of many things you’re looking for when you proof your content. Here are some others:
Accurate word choice: If something tells you a word might not be right, consult the dictionary. Merriam-webster.com is a great resource. In general, if you have more than one option, choose the simplest, most natural-sounding word.
Adherence to established style: Most companies follow AP style, with some exceptions. AP has a great online operation, and if you have a question for the editor, the editor really responds!
Appearance: Give your text air to breathe. Make sure your document, email, PowerPoint—whatever it is—looks as good as it sounds.
Consistent use of language and terms: If you refer to something or someone one way, stick with it throughout your piece.
Correct capitalization: Capitalize only what’s required. That would include proper names and nouns as well as titles when they precede someone’s name. Capitalizing something does not make it more important.
Error-free punctuation: Don’t overuse dashes. Go light on exclamation points. Know when to insert a comma. My favorite punctuation resource is The best punctuation book, period. It’s by June Casagrande.
Grammar: Know basic grammar rules. I keep a grammar book on my desk and consult it regularly. Grammatically Correct: The Essential Guide to Spelling Style, Usage, Grammar and Punctuation by Anne Stilman is a good one.
I recommend proofing from hard copy. And if you can, take a break between editing what you write and proofreading it.
In the meantime, keep your pantry full and your panties in the top drawer.