The impotence of proofreading

Just for fun. This has been out for several years, but a colleague just sent me the link. As an editor I’ve warned writers and students before about the dangers of failing to proofreading, or of trusting spell check… but never as memorably as this guy.

Really, the proofreading is the easy part. It’s the final stage of writing, after the drafts and the cooling off and the revision, and the next revision, and the next revision… this final fussing over details is actually relatively simple. This is the stuff that’s easy to fix — unlike the larger issues such as, “Is this the best way to organize this material?” or, “Am I making any sense?”

Here’s a tip from the publishing world. Before we go to press with anything, we have multiple proofreaders look it over. It’s best to have at least one proofreader who hasn’t seen the manuscript before — because if you’ve written the piece, you know what it’s supposed to say, and you can look right past obvious errors. That isn’t always practical for stuff you work on at home, but a friend or a spouse with sharp eye is a good thing to have.


One thought on “The impotence of proofreading

  1. Pingback: What can a proofreader do for you? FAQs | juliaproofreader

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