Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

by Davina on October 18, 2012

Shedding a little light on proofreading

I’ve been away from the blog for a couple of months as a number of editing and proofreading projects have kept me busy. Even the writing of my novel has had to pause. I’m looking forward to revisiting it this weekend.

This has been a very good year and I’m blessed to have so many wonderful clients. I’m also grateful to have found a vocation that I excel at and one that doesn’t feel like work.

During my days of proofreading and editing, I of course find a variety of errors that require fixing. Every project is unique. Correcting typos and grammar, adjusting syntax and making structural edits, and performing fact-checking comprise the bulk of my services. However, there is another level of proofreading that goes beyond the words. It’s called “thinking.”

I’m currently contracted out to proofread an advertising campaign. While reading one of their promotional offers in a recent ad, I realized that something just didn’t add up. They were promoting a three-light fixture and had listed a number of features and benefits. The following was one of the add-ons they listed:

“Light bulb included.”

Can you see what is wrong with this picture? What revision do you believe would be necessary?

This is one of those sneaky typos that spell check will not pick up, and one more reason why hiring someone who is not as close to the project as you are is advised. Note: if you’re writing a novel, I offer a free chapter edit to introduce my services to you.

Have you come across a winner of a typo in your travels online or while reading, which you care to share?

Image credit: Smithsonian Institution


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patricia October 18, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Nice to find you here again, you have been busy – hip hip hurray! and I want to thank you for your lovely comments on my post. Those words meant a great deal to me.

We have a person running for office in our state who has a peculiar name and the first run of the campaign signs were such that as one approached it looked like the a giant expletive S*** TED……by a week later they signs had been redesigned, removed, and replaced. The problem being that used all the candidates funds and there was nothing left for brochures or other mailings. I think no one thought about how they would look from afar….yes that old thinking tool is very useful
patricia´s last blog post ..Postcard Alive!

Mike October 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm

For my civil war blog, most of my material comes from old books that have been scanned and then OCRed by Google. Sometimes the OCR (optical character recognition) is almost perfect, but there is always going to be errors.

As a result, I have to proofread and, sometimes, format the material before I post it.

When I first started dong this, years ago, the only thing was available for one of the sources was the OCR output. I couldn’t compare it to the original or ask the long-deceased author. Sometimes it was very challenging to figure out what the text was actually meant to say — and my source was a commercial site that was providing the material as a reference for colleges, for a fee, of course.
Mike´s last blog post ..Pikes Peak above Crystal Creek Reservoir.

Carole Lyden October 19, 2012 at 12:14 am

Well not sure if I am on the right track or not but for a 3 light fixture, you need 3 lights not one as illustrated. And ‘light bulb included’ is again singular.
Carole Lyden´s last blog post ..Is your blog ‘blah blah’ boring or is it brimming with creativity?

Julie October 19, 2012 at 3:37 am

A couple of light sockets musn’t be functioning correctly. Otherwise, where’s the “s”? ;)

Naturally, I agree with everything you’ve shared, Davina. A Facebook friend recently shared this post, then cringed in embarrassment before turning it into a lesson (she’s an educator):

“And another in the series of Carla’s Failed Morning Mishaps: just poured coffee over my teabag … because I forgot I was having tea. Yep, this is why I need caffeine people.”


Betsy Wuebker October 19, 2012 at 5:57 am

Hi Davina – Yep, it’s just not enough to scan for errors in spelling and grammar. Nor would this have been caught for mismatched subject/object, either. Where you bring value and what you do so well is pay attention! Great example to promote the exceptional quality of your services. :)
Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post ..Web Presence: Yours Needs The Impact Equation

Davina October 19, 2012 at 8:55 am

Hi Patricia.

Thank you! And you’re welcome for the comments on your blog post. It was such a pleasure to read. I just settled back in my chair and enjoyed travelling with you.

LOL, great example of the value of proofreading. It seems folk want to cut cost and skip the proofing phase and then they end up paying even more to fix something after it’s been presented in the public arena. Not to mention paying through additional time and effort… and more supplies.

Hi Mike.

I’m familiar with OCR. Back in the day and at that time, our creative services dept had to scan a couple of out-of-print books so they could be edited and republished. Some letters that couldn’t be interpreted by the scanner would be replace with all sorts of odd symbols. The scanner even tried to interpret flaws in the paper or ink smudges. :)

Now that *would* have been a challenge though, for you to not have the original! A little bit of deciphering involved on your part for sure.

Hi Carole.

Welcome to my blog. I’m so glad you stopped by. Yes, you figured it out :) It would be pretty funny to buy a three-light fixture and only receive one light bulb. LOL.

Hi Julie!

What a treat to see you here :) Yes, you guessed it too. Hehehe.

Lol, thanks for sharing that example. We do the funniest things! And it’s so great to laugh about it. And hey, sometimes these “accidents” result in a good discovery!

Hi there Betsy.

Thank you! :) This was a fun one. I think we all get a little rise out of these cases… when the… er (pardon me)… light goes on. LOL.

William Veasley October 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Davina: I couldn’t agree with you more about the importance of proofreading. In the past I didn’t put that much effort into it and sometimes when I look back, I wonder how I let obvious errors go undetected. Now, when I write something I spend equal or more time editing and that is really how I put my work together. I could go over a page 3 times and still make plenty of good corrections. At some point though I stop, but the proofreading stage is what makes or breaks my writing.

Best Wishes,
William Veasley
William Veasley´s last blog post ..Talk Is Cheap

Hilary October 20, 2012 at 6:10 am

Hi Davina .. I even managed not to correct every typo for the Church Service sheets we had for my mother’s funeral and Memorial … there’s a reason for it – the less said the better for one aspect (family) and for the other .. I used a friend – I wasn’t too thrilled at find obvious mistakes when I’d sent probably a correct draft – just their transfer to the publisher format .. didn’t work properly … still what’s done is done!

But typos aren’t always picked up if the word is correct, sometimes grammar gets picked up – but then I can’t see the wood for the trees – and it’s usually American v English … or something equally frustrating ..

Good to see you back and delighted your year has done you proud, and you’re happy ..

Cheers Hilary
Hilary´s last blog post ..Hardwick’s Nose … smells a party – a BIRTHDAY PARTY at that …

Chris Edgar October 24, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Well, you know, in these economic times, how can we reasonably expect them to chip in for more than one bulb? But I suppose if that’s the case, it’s better not to include any bulbs at all, or have the salesman throw the bulb in as part of the deal to do some seemingly on-the-spot customer TLC.
Chris Edgar´s last blog post ..Some Steve’s Quest Studio Pictures

Davina October 28, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Hi William.

Thanks for your comment. It really is amazing just how many errors you can find isn’t it? The trick is to put in the time and that’s what stops and fools a lot of folk when it comes to proofreading. Either they don’t want to spend the time, or they feel confident after proofing it once. Very rarely are all typos and errors caught after the first read! Good for you for putting in such a great effort.

Hi Hilary.

You’re exactly right… spell check doesn’t recognize when a word is the wrong word if it’s spelled correctly. I can understand how you feel about your mother’s church service sheets. I wish I had known back then. I would have gladly read them over for you and corrected any errors, as a favour to a friend. Thanks for your support throughout the past year! I hope you are well. I plan on writing you an email very soon, as I’ve been thinking of you and wondering how you are xo

Hi there, Chris.

LOL! You’re so funny :-) You’ve made me laugh out loud.

Hilary October 29, 2012 at 1:20 am

Hi Davina .. I was having many “Wish” days as the Church Sheets were being prepared .. wishing you were here days. There just simply wasn’t time in the printing process – it was a pain … but never mind another bit of mini uniqueness in what were otherwise two lovely services – and will probably be remembered because they were ‘the same, yet different’ … ie as you’d expect Church services but with a Hilary take on them!! They went down well and that’s the main thing ..

I’m fine – just rather slower than I’d like to be getting on with things .. still I’ve been out and about and my head is fine – we had a good life (my mother a long one) and that’s what counts at the end of the day.

Cheers for now and we’ll be in touch soon via email … have a good week – Hilary
Hilary´s last blog post ..Shaken, Not Stirred …

Davina November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am

I bet the Hilary take on the services was just perfect. I know that you put a great deal of yourself… and your heart… into them. Yes, you and your mother spent many hours together. You can write and rewrite… but time spent together cannot be replaced, nor can your memories. That is what counts, for sure. xo

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