Proof of the pudidng

May 17th, 2012

OK, you’ve written your newsletter, or your annual report, and you’re ready to upload it to your web site, or email it out to potential customers, or journalists who you hope will give your business some publicity.
Hang on a sec… Has it been proof-read?
No, don’t give me that old-fashioned look! I asked you, has this piece been proof-read? You wouldn’t have it professionally printed without proofs being checked first, would you?
Your reply might be something like “Oh, yes – I’ve printed a copy out and read through it very carefully. It’s all ok.” In that case, my response is: “Sorry, that’s not proof-reading. That’s the author casting an eye over their own work.”
Proof-reading invariably and necessarily recruits a second pair of eyes to look afresh at your document. Why? Well, think about it: who wrote the document? Why, you did. And did you think carefully about the content, the way it was presented? Of course you did. Who knows better than you, what you were trying to say? No one, obviously. So, inevitably, when you read through the copy you’ve printed, you do so in the knowledge that it’s perfect! In fact, you’re so pleased with what a brilliant job you’ve done, that when you read it you won’t see any of the mistakes.
The reason you need someone else to proof-read your work is that you know it’s right, and so you won’t see where it’s wrong.
Examples of errors like this pop up daily: “practice” and “practise” frequently get confused; are you offering advice or trying to advise? And as I’m sure you spotted in my headline, typing errors are easy to miss. Oddly enough, where words are set in a larger typeface, especially all in capitals, typographical errors can all too easily slip through.
I’m not just touting for business here – though naturally, proof-reading is a service offered by Words for Business. The crucial thing is: before you release that document into which you’ve poured your heart and soul, pass it across the desk and let a colleague check it over.
Thanks, Lisa Malyon, of Sense Communications, for proof-reading this for me. That’s one I owe you!

Categories: Words for Business

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