Monday, November 9, 2009

A Look Into "Proofreading"

Monday Menagerie

The following is taken from the first post I wrote when I entered the blogosphere. I'm featuring it today as an introduction of tomorrow's post, where I'll provide a more in-depth look at the subject.

There's More to Proofreading Than Just Reading!

Part of the job of a good proofreader is to not only find the errors, but also having the ability to find the right words to get the writer's message across to the reader in a clear and concise manner.

Proofreading itself involves pretty much the obvious: misspelled words, incorrect punctuation and grammatical errors.

Copyediting is another aspect and is a bit more involved. When editing written material, a copyeditor looks for proper structure and "flow." The last thing a reader wants is to have to "work" at reading. The written words should be as readable as if they were being spoken aloud. Of course this goes without saying that the speaker be well-versed in the proper use of the English language.

So, you have proofreading for spelling, punctuation and grammar; copyediting for structure and proper content. What other element or skill is essential in the process of polishing a manuscript?

Writing. In order to be of value to a client, a "proofreader" should definitely possess excellent writing abilities. If something is written without proper format or composition, how could that possibly be remedied unless your editor has the ability to find the right words and use them in the correct order, so that what you are writing is understandable and reads with ease?

What is most commonly referred to as proofreading obviously involves more than merely finding a misplaced comma or a misspelled word. Please be sure to read tomorrow's post, where I'll provide a more detailed look into the differences between proofreading and copyediting - and the various levels of editing.


  1. Proofreaders are so incredibly thorough. I'm always amazed when my edits come back at all the boo-boos they've found. What a tough job, Crystal! Such an eye for detail...

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Interesting stuff. Thank goodness for proofreaders, copyeditors--all kinds of editors!

  3. What a great intro into what proofreading and copyediting is! can't wait until tomorrows post.

  4. Love this post and will be following the sequels with much interest. You have a special talent for clarifying literary distinctions.

    The Old Silly

  5. Thank you Elizabeth, Alan, CC and Marvin!

    Karen: It is very true that it is by far easier to find errors in someone else's work than your own!

  6. Oh so very true. Especially the flow and structure. I'm good with that and content. Spelling is something I've never had a problem with and there is always spell check. But spell check doesn't catch words like, there, their, they're, so you can't just run spell check and think you're done.

    This week's really busy, but I hope to stop by and check out the next article. :-)

  7. I remember your first post!

    I know my work always needs proofing beyond grammar, so writers who claim they don't always cause me to chuckle...

  8. I'm so grateful for people like you Crystal. I'm amazed what my editor finds in my projects, which I've already read who knows how many times. I'm looking forward to your post tomorrow; knowledge is a wonderful thing!


  9. Great insight! I know in my transcripts I would submit them with a feeling of great satisfaction that I had "proofed" it very thoroughly myself and lo and behold.....some of the things you overlook leave you astounded at yourself! HaHa! At times you start analyzing a word as simple as "but" or "and" and wonder if it's a real word!!! Ha....then it's time to take a break! LOL!


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