Talking of proofreading…
It was interesting recently to see the output from the professional proofreader we used to check through ‘Proposal Essentials’, our book. We’d asked him to be pedantic: after all, many of the readers are likely to be pretty eagled-eyed, and the standards of proofreading necessary for a formal published book are far higher than for (say) the more informal stuff we write here on our blog.
We’d checked the copy ourselves, of course. But guess how many errors he spotted in 120 pages of text?
- design errors: the odd additional space appearing where it had no place, for example
- copy errors: where we’d simply written stuff that contained mistakes – e.g. missing or incorrect words, or where the text was simply ungrammatical
- educational errors: things that were simply wrong, that we wouldn’t have recognised unless a professional had pointed them out.
The last camp was the one that fascinated me the most – especially as someone who writes regularly and (I like to think) fluently and professionally, at work and outside. Note to self: it’s “reinforce” not “re-enforce” – and I need to go and read up on the rules as to when and how to hyphenate words correctly!
As I always say to teams working on live deals: if you try to read your own copy, you’ll inevitably see what you thought you’d written – even if you use the age-old test of reading your copy out loud – and your concentration is bound to lapse at some point as you work your way through the document. And if you actually simply didn’t know a particular rule of grammar when you wrote the text, then you’re highly unlikely to have learnt it in the few days since!