Leslie Cook

Why Proofreading Is Not My Strong Point

In Writing on December 5, 2011 at 8:34 am

This morning, I was listening to the Grammar Girl podcast and a subject that is near and dear to my heat was discussed. Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty) was admitting to not being a brilliant proofreader. “Oh my god,” I thought, “I have exactly the same problem!”

I apologize to everyone in advance for any typo, grammatically incorrect phrases, or any errors I make in my writing. I am always embarrassed when someone notices that I left out a letter or skipped whole words when I think my work is done. My excuse? I am a notoriously weak proofreader of my own work. I’m great at reviewing the work of others but when it comes to reading and recognizing typographical errors in my own work, I’m impossible. There are several reasons this occurs. I’m so familiar with what I’m writing that when I re-read it, my brain fills in or rearranges anything that might be incorrect. I also tend to miss more proofreading errors when I edit on a computer screen. When I work, I tend to print my work out and mark-up my text. Online it’s a bit more difficult to do this and my eyes seem to skip over holes in my writing. I’m very lucky and live with the best proofreader in the world! Norm can find an error in 3 seconds flat and when I want to make sure something is perfect, I’ll hand it to him to review. But sometimes I don’t want to take the time or take him away from what he’s doing, so I fly solo, much to the chagrin of my readers. Mignon pointed out that a lot of her errors come from editing and reediting her work. I have the same problem. When I edit my work, I sometimes add or remove works and neglect to take out a previously written word or phrase. And then there’s the wacky finger problem. I think I’m typing one thing and something else comes out. Or my fingers will skip over a letter that wasn’t typed with enough pressure giving you “of” instead of “off.”

Grammar Girl provided a list of 10 ways to help you (and me) to reduce proofreading errors. Take a look. If you’re anything like me, it will help. And if you have a love of the language you may want to consider listening to Grammar Girls podcast. They’re very informative.

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