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5 ways a professional proofreader will help make your stand-out copy outstanding

13 April 2016 10:33

When it's got to look good – when it needs to look just right (and, let's face it, when doesn't it?) – the best thing any writer can do is to sign up a professional proofreader. The proofreader's job is to make a thorough sweep of the writer's copy, picking up anything that needs correction.


And proofreading isn't just a service for book authors. From corporate literature to blogs to websites, content is everywhere and competition for engagement is steep. So whatever kind of writer you are, it's worth remembering the final polish a proofreader can give to your words.


Here are 5 checks a proofreader will make:


1 Spelling – Yes, your computer has a spellchecker, but it doesn't flag up a correctly spelt word incorrectly used. 'Their' and 'there', for example; 'practice' and 'practise', for another. Proofreading involves proper spelling correction.


2 Punctuation – When you're in full flow, it's easy to drop in a comma instead of a full stop (or leave it out altogether). Or forget to use double inverted commas inside singles, or vice versa. Or get carried away with exclamation marks. Or ask a question, without inserting the required question mark at the end. A proofreader will tidy up any such anomalies.


3 Omissions – If typing in haste, your brain can often be three steps ahead of your hands, and words inadvertently get omitted. Even when you read your writing through, your brain may still leap ahead, telling you what it thinks is on the page (or the screen) rather than what is actually there. Proofreading crucially picks up such omissions and rectifies them before the piece is published.


4 Consistency – A professional finish requires consistent presentation. If initial capital letters are used on certain words, they need to be used on those words throughout the copy. If any words are hyphenated, they need to be hyphenated each time they appear. What happens once should happen every time. A proofreader will make sure that it does.


5 Layout – If text alignment or indentation are incorrect, if line spacing has gone awry, if illustrations are incorrectly positioned or titled, or the wrong font has been used, proofreading provides the safety net to catch the mistakes and rectify them before the written piece is thrown open for public view.


Proofreading should never be an optional add-on. Professional proofreaders help content producers of every persuasion to showcase their strengths and abilities through their writing, by eradicating any jarring production errors and so allowing consumers simply a jolly good read.