The secret to great proofreading

The secret to great proofreading

January 5, 2021 By Jessica DiDonato Resources

This tip may earn you “eagle-eye” status.

Proofreaders defend against errors that could cost content creators their credibility. They protect the integrity of the work. One might say they are the unsung heroes of the publishing process.

Proofreaders do not simply read and wait for errors to jump out at them. They take an active role in reviewing material, assuming that all content is guilty until proven error free. 

Herein lies the secret to great proofreading. Proofreaders find the most errors—shhhh—when they look for them.

While that may seem obvious, it actually reinforces why proofreaders are essential. It is possible for the author or editor to overlook or introduce errors during the editing process. Mistakes can lurk anywhere, including headlines, captions, and graphics. Errors may be unrelated to spelling or grammar, cleverly camouflaged as an improperly placed photo, an incorrect page reference, or a broken web link. 

Proofreaders should ensure they check for some of the following flaws when reviewing print or digital publications:

It is the proofreader’s job to test all content for accuracy before it goes out the door. Reading mindfully, with the intent to catch as many of these perpetrators as possible, is critical to doing that job well. A proofreader should never ignore questions that arise when reviewing content—looking something up or querying the author is always advisable. If the proofreader falters, it is likely the reader will, too.

In the end, proofreading is about ensuring error-free content reaches its audience—for the author’s benefit in properly conveying the intended message, and for the proofreading sleuth in proudly earning more “Great catches!” 

Header photo by Daniel Fazio on Unsplash. 

Recent Posts

Highlights From ACES 2024 San Diego

Erin Brenner wins Robinson Prize, ACES' highest honor

AP Stylebook announces historic Merriam-Webster collaboration at ACES 2024 San Diego