Rid yourself of errors


So you have a few short minutes to proof that term paper, project, newsletter or Dear John letter.

How can you concisely tell John he’s no longer in the game, a jerk, a loser – a has-been? He stinks and he needs to learn, via your letter, EXACTLY how you feel about him, or her.

Recipe for disaster, errors … for example:

“Dear John: I can’t stand the sight of you. Your habits are causing me such grief that I could spontaneously combust! I must have you!”

In your haste, you typed ‘have’ instead of ‘leave.’ These things happen. Even to polished editors. We’re human, you know, regardless of what those close to us might tell you.

Simple copy editing tips:

1. Crazy but true, make the copy larger on your screen. I keep mine at a large size, one, because I want to see every word – drive-in movie large – and, two, I wear bifocals.

2. Use your cursor to slow your eyes as you read. After editing for a while, your eyes tend to get lazy, as well as your mind, and it’s easy to bypass errors. Slow down and use the cursor as your word guide.

3. After you’re satisfied the copy is perfect, go back and re-read it. You’ll be surprised. And go slow again. The cursor is your guide.

4. Turn off the TV, the radio, muzzle the dog and try to focus on the job.

5. Spell check, spell check, spell check. Then when you’re finished, spell check. Then spell check one more time. That way, you know you won’t forget … to spell check. But beware of reign, rein, rain … affect, effect – if you’re unsure of the correct word, check a dictionary.

These are just a few tips. Let John, or Jane, as the case may be, know the accurate score. You don’t want them coming back, knocking on your door with flowers because your editing skills need refinement.

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One Response to Rid yourself of errors

  1. scotty says:

    One more thing — always ALWAYS let someone else read it, too. It’s nearly impossible to edit your own copy effectively!

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