To celebrate this exciting National Initiative, here are some useful pointers from Kat…
Well, National Proofreading Day is upon us once again, and it only seems like five minutes since the last one. So, how’s the blogging/posting/emailing going? Still getting errors in your beautifully written pieces? Spellcheck let you down? Here’s my advice for making sure your hard work hasn’t gone to waist waste.
- unless you work solo in a lighthouse, always get another person to proofread your work. It’s no good trying to do this yourself…you’re already far too close to the piece, and you’ve probably seen it a hundred times already (and missed the same error a hundred times…)
- when proofreading another person’s work, a great trick is to read it out loud. You’ll notice far more easily where natural breaks for breath should occur, (which should appear as commas or full stops, for example) and it may highlight any ambiguous sentences, e.g. a cross section of people is very different to a cross-section of people, even if they’re only a tad annoyed
- please, please, please don’t rely on spellcheck. It will not differentiate between different spellings of words if the words exist, and their there is no room for shoddiness in your beautifully thought-out work
- take your time to research! If you’re not sure how a word is spelt, a Google search may help, but don’t rely on it as the be-all and end-all. There are too many Americanisms already; check with Messrs Collins, Webster or Oxford if you can, too
- keep to plain English and avoid long, convoluted and flourishy words. No one likes a show-off, and it will only discombobulate people (look it up)
They’re my top five, but I’m sure you have hundreds of other tips for perfection in your writing. Do share!