This post is inspired by my silly poster about proofreading.
It’s very easy to skip the proofreading stage of a document’s development. You get to the end of the absolute hell hole of writing what it is that you need to, you feel the exhilaration of actually achieving the task and soon being able to see the back of it. You do a quick spell check, “Yep; that must be good to go – no more squiggly lines underneath the words. Excellent! I’ll just hit “Send to printer/Publish.” No problemo.”
That’s the funny and annoying thing about spell check. While it can tell you if you’ve written “the” twice in a row, it is not so good at indicating where you have missed out an entire word. If the word isn’t there, it has no data for spell check to draw from to care either way.
So I’m afraid in most instances there is just no other way to make sure you have an impeccable piece of writing than to use a second pair of eyes. Human eyes. Trained wordsmithing eyes. Like mine. Or another proofreader’s. Such as your Aunt Mavis’s who was a school teacher in the days when grammar was taught in schools. Proofreading with a friend or hiring a proofreader is the most foolproof way to make sure you have not missed any words out in your writing. Humans are the best remedy for realising words have been lost in the ether.
This poster is absolutely made in jest but mistakes in writing can be costly. We all make writing errors, and many customers and potential collaborators are probably willing to turn a blind eye to one or two blunders, but if it starts to become a habit, it can be telling of the focus and energy you put into a task; and the words you use to define who you are. Could this be how much attention you provide your clients, I dare to ask?
I see the most missing words in social media posts. And I am not immune! The immediacy of social media allows folk to post something within a few seconds, and many feel that posts are ephemeral in the newsfeed scroll. This, I think, encourages people not to review their words in social media posts – it’s as if they do not value their words on this platform.
But words, no matter how long they’re seen for, have weight. And missing words, arguably, are even heavier.
The good news is that we have that wonder of the “edit” button on most social media platforms. Thank goodness!
So remember this silly maxim next time you achieve the thrill of completing a written task.
Make sure you proofread to see if you ____ any words out.
If you’d like some proofreading tips, little ideas to help eliminate errors in your writing, why not check out this poster and blog post.