Archive for ‘Proof Reading’

May 29, 2013

16 Reasons (but surely there are more!)


Click Here for Full Article

RELATED: Why You Need a Copy Editor

November 2, 2012

The Voice of Canadian Editors

Excellent resource for skill set descriptions, certification, continuing education.

August 16, 2011

Proofreading Checklist

This is totally how I work … reading in levels, paging through again and again, back and forth. Happy to see I ain’t the only one!  I suggest making a laminated printout of this to present to your boss/client the next time they expect instant turnaround. (And don’t they always!)

Never proofread by reading a manuscript through only once looking for errors. The mind is not able to process all of the information in a document in one pass. Instead, read every normal, uncomplicated manuscript three times:

1. Read for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
2. Read again for content errors.
3. Read a final time for consistency in format, list items, and choice of words.
4. If the manuscript contains any of the following, read through it once for each characteristic after you have finished the three readings above:

  • Statistics, numbers, or dollar amounts. Do a separate statistics proofread.
  • Dates, telephone numbers, addresses. Do a separate numbers check. For important dates, telephone numbers, and addresses, look up the original information and compare the records. For advertising copy or direct mail, dial the phone numbers to be sure they are accurate.
  • Special formatting. Do a separate check of special formatting to be sure it complies with requirements.
  • Headings, numbered lists, sections with titles. Do a separate check of the headings, sequences of numbers, and titles on sections. Check to see whether the stated number of points is present. Check consistency in formatting.
  • Tables, charts, graphs. Do a separate accuracy check to be sure the visuals match the originals.
  • Cross references. If the manuscript refers to other pages, do a final proofread for cross-references after the manuscript has been printed for the last time.
Check these areas where errors are most likely to occur or be missed:
    1. Captions and titles in tables, graphs, and illustrations
    2. The first words or paragraph of the document
    3. The last words or paragraph of the document
    4. The text break at page breaks
    5. Titles and running heads
    6. Titles or other words in all caps
    7. Words in large type
    8. Headings
    9. Table of contents
    10. Page numbers

Much thanks to :

August 2, 2011

Hunting Down the Pleonasm

Allan Guthrie prepared this list of guidelines in 2004 for some people at Adventure Books of Seattle. While generally intended for fiction writers, it contains valuable tips for anyone who puts finger to keypad. Analysts/associates who have worked with me will find at least a couple of these rules familiar; I try to apply them to all my editing work and consider them to be axiomatic. (And while many analysts/associates have kindly nodded their heads in polite agreement while I tried to convince them likewise, they generally preferred to leave it to me to wrestle their wild prose into compliance!)  Here’s a link to the entire article.

For quick reference, two of the “rules” I actively enforce are:

1: Avoid pleonasms. A pleonasm is a word or phrase that can be removed from a sentence without changing its meaning. For example, in “Hunting Down The Pleonasm”, ‘down’ is pleonastic. Cut it and the meaning of the sentence does not alter. Many words are used pleonastically: ‘just’, ‘that’ and ‘actually’ are three frequently-seen culprits, and phrases like ‘more or less’ and ‘in any shape or form’ are redundant.
8: Show, don’t tell. Much vaunted advice, yet rarely heeded. Is your preferred reader intelligent? Yes? Then treat them accordingly. If you want to engage your readers, don’t explain everything to them. Show them what’s happening and allow their intelligence to do the rest. (My comment: I find this especially true when analysts devote all kinds of verbiage to where a figure is found on a page, what it contains, etc. A little of this is okay, sure, but hello?, we can see the figure, which of course has been properly labelled, and we get what it shows, so thanks for the visual … you don’t need to write a lot more about it!)

July 31, 2011

Hack the flab from your writing!

Great little site and includes copy editing videos!
Now how exciting is that?

Disclaimer: In at least a few instances, I don’t agree with the edit recommendations provided by these authors. (But is that surprising? Invite two copy editors over for a drink and watch as they battle it out on all sorts of minutiae … while enjoying every minute of it!)
Still, the site is a fun place to visit and the authors’ dedication to the cause is exemplary.

July 28, 2011

The Comma that Caused a Lawsuit

This story was extensively covered at the time and it deserves a permanent home here, a comma cause célèbre. And if you haven’t yet read Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, I highly recommend it!

Rogers thought it had a five-year deal with Aliant Inc. to string Rogers’ cable lines across thousands of utility poles in the Maritimes for an annual fee of $9.60 per pole. But early last year, Rogers was informed that the contract was being cancelled and the rates were going up. Impossible, Rogers thought, since its contract was iron-clad until the spring of 2007 and could potentially be renewed for another five years.

Armed with the rules of grammar and punctuation, Aliant disagreed. The construction of a single sentence in the 14-page contract allowed the entire deal to be scrapped with only one-year’s notice, the company argued.

Comma Quirk Irks Rogers

July 28, 2011

They’ll Never Know

As editors of written copy and report presentation, our job is to be invisible and help the author shine. Sure, we could let a badly capitalized headline go out and 99% of the readership probably wouldn’t consciously notice. But we notice, and we know the report has more authority when small details like have been corrected.

And therein lies some of the frustration of having a career in financial services in such a role. This business, like any other business, is results oriented. Quantified. But for the multitude of us who work on the support side, making direct sales or getting a client to pay for our efforts isn’t an option. Yet we make a solid contribution to the final product and sometimes, I think, our role is wildly misunderstood, if not outright overlooked.

By ensuring that proper disclosures are in place every single time, we might have saved the company a headache with the regulators and possibly a steep fine. But that’s what they pay us to do, right? We know that.

Or we might have caught a valuation metric that was an anomaly in the comp table, questioned the analyst, and requested some clarification in the text. Or simply done the math and discovered the target wasn’t matching up. This kind of observation and intervention can help the analyst side-step the awkwardness of having the sales desk or a client scratching their heads asking, what the heck? But what’s it worth?

And sure, we might have helped the company avoid a million-dollar lawsuit by rephrasing an analyst’s pro-oil diatribe against an aboriginal leader who was backtracking on development plans … but by the time the report hits the wires, nobody knows we did that. Or really cares.

Or we tweaked a graphic just a few points higher to better position it in the story, maybe cropped out some extraneous noise, changed a font style/size, searched a source on the web. All important details, all contributing to the polished look of the finished project, perhaps even helping build an analyst’s ranking, yet all necessarily covert.

These little details matter A LOT to us, even if we know that few end-users consciously notice or even realize at all that deliberate thought has been put into every.single.thing. And sure, stuff can slip past our notice as well … but the dread upon realizing that has happened is — whew — at least somewhat mitigated in this day and age by the ease of making a correction and reposting the file. Nobody dies, right? so try to keep some perspective will ya?! : )

I guess this ramble is all by way of saying, keep the faith fellow editors. What we do matters, even if it’s invisible!

July 25, 2011

As Part of the Learning Process …

… I’m adding a few random posts just to get the hang of  the WordPress interface. I found this graphic on another blog and probably should have reposted the link, but here’s the image for now with thanks to Eve Corbel.

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