Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Proofreading Your Content: The Area to be Nit-Picky

Posted by Rose Strong

Have you ever read an article or book and found that one glaringly wrong typo and wonder how no one caught the glaring error? We’ve all read signs in store windows and thought the person who wrote it should go back to high school English class and review sentence structure. Many of these typos have made it into emails or on Facebook for some good belly laughs.

- Gun Shop
- Prince Harry

Fresh eyes are so important in writing professionally. Regardless of what your business is or who you’re writing for, if it isn’t well-written on your website, blog post or printed materials or even your Twitter feed and Facebook status, you could be losing potential business.

Mangle a sentence or misspell a few words, forget a comma or two and you immediately send the message that your business does haphazard work.

This past May, I started with Furia Rubel in the capacity of office administrator. With an office staff of five, this position is more than just keeping an appointment calendar, answering the phone and filing. It offers a variety of tasks, one of which is proofreading.

For the past nine years, I’ve been writing professionally as a part-time freelancer, mostly for a local weekly newspaper here in Bucks County. Let me say one thing, there is a world of difference between being the writer and being the proofreader.

As a writer, I do my research, put words on the screen, review a few times and send them off to an editor. Regarding proofreading, you’d think that it’s basically about checking for misspellings and making sure sentences make sense. Oh no! That’s only part of the job.

For the last five months, I’ve had a crash course in proofreading and I’m still learning. And the job of course, is about making sure things are spelled right, but don’t forget about extra spaces, over-used quotation marks and the Oxford comma.

And then of course there’s style. In Furia Rubel’s case, that’s the AP Stylebook for most things, but there are those odd questions we ask one another, “Is it health care or healthcare?” “Does nonprofit have a hyphen?” “Is board of directors capitalized?” “Should that have a comma or semi-colon?” “Shouldn’t that word be pluralized?” “Is third-world-country a politically correct term?” And the list goes on, every day. The AP Stylebook is our go-to source for these kinds of questions.

It sounds nit-picky, (yes, there is a hyphen in that) but it all comes down to doing great work, making sense and sharing a cohesive and well-thought-out message with our audience.

- Cost of Not Proofreading
- Grammar Girl

1 comment:

Derek said...

I can only imagine how important it is to proofread our works before publishing as it can lose business as you mentioned.