Why you need a Proofreader

rogersgeorge on June 16th, 2017

I saw a version of this back in the 1960’s in Readers Digest.


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Since I’m Busy…

rogersgeorge on June 15th, 2016

I ran into this comic, Unstrange Phenomena, a couple years back and enjoyed it. I happen to be tied up, so I’m posting it as a filler. I have to point out that proofreading is perhaps the biggest key to good expository writing.

Unstrange Phenomena

Good Writing is Important!

rogersgeorge on April 9th, 2016

It’s not plagiarism if you give credit, is it? I ran into this answer on Quora, and it’s worth repeating. The writer, by the way claims to be “Jayme Self, Founder, www.englishedits.com.” Based on this alone, I thought it must be a pretty good site. However, the link in the Quora item goes to a URL farm that says that that URL is for sale. Perhaps the link has a typo (horrors!) Just the same, I quote the entire Quora answer:

Spelling and grammar really, really matter.

One (totally unscientific) study –  Lessons from a year’s worth of hiring data  – found that “typos and grammatical errors matter more than anything else” on the resume when screening and hiring candidates.

A few other fun facts:

  • 49% of hiring managers will not consider a candidate whose résumé has spelling or grammar errors. [1]
  • People recall 20% more facts from correct writing than from writing with errors. [2]
  • On average, participants took over 6 times longer to read articles with grammatical errors than correct articles of the same length.[2]
  • Grammatical errors are associated with high mental effort.[2]
  • 75% of people said that errors in writing make the author less trustworthy. [3]

Even better, one online entrepreneur in the UK found that a single typo can cut online sales in half [4], and we’ve also done tests at English Edits where we found that, on average, fixing a single typo on a Google Adwords ad increased CTR 85%.

So, think about that next time you’re applying for a job or sending in a business proposal. And definitely have someone else give it a second look!

I feel validated!


About flow and other things

rogersgeorge on November 19th, 2013

A couple weeks back I got a comment from someone who looked like a spammer, but the comment, rather than being a vague compliment, it was a pretty good legitimate question about writing. So I figured it might be an actual person who wanted to actually sell actual ladies’ underwear, so I replied. Turned out the gmail address bounced, so I deleted the comment.

The question had to do with having trouble getting started writing, and wondered if I would share how I managed to not waste time waiting for the mood to strike.

Not being one to waste a perfectly good comment about writing, I share it herewith:

I’m not sure your question is legit, considering your user name, but the problem you describe is a real one, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

It takes your brain ten to fifteen minutes to get into a state we call flow. That fifteen minutes is normal, so it’s not really being wasted. Think of it as warming up your car engine on a cold day. You can shorten the time somewhat by developing a ritual before you start actually writing. Get your coffee (or whatever) ready, the chair arranged, and so on. Doodle a bit, or jot down random ideas related to what you want to write about. Before you know it, you’ll look up and an hour or more will have passed!

That person missed some good information by being bogus. Flow is an important part of writing.

By the way, the process of writing has gotten a bit easier with the advent of tools like word processors. Editing is so much easier now, because it’s so easy to insert things in the middle of what you’ve written. I like to write “sideways,” not beginning to end. I start out with whatever comes to mind, then go back later and add things that occur to me. Especially at first, I don’t worry about what order things should be. Resist the temptation to make minor fixes, too. Just get a lot of stuff down. Include notes about looking up things that you don’t know for sure. Include sentence fragments. Include topics, headings, metadata. Include actual content.

When the time feels right (when you have the content pretty much down; at least referred to), sit back and move things around. More ideas will occur to you; put them in. Presently you will feel like you have the content and organization fairly well in place.

Now take a break. At least several minutes, overnight is better. When you return to the writing, you’ll be amazed at what else you think of. Make the changes. About now you can start cleaning up the mechanics, too.

When you’re fairly satisfied, take another break.

Now go over it meticulously for mechanics: grammar, punctuation, SV-agreement, spelling, and all the rest. At least twice. Get someone else to do a proofread. Never let something out with bad mechanics! I’ve read several articles, even novels, (—online. Apparently the ones that end up on real paper get proofread by professionals) that were interesting and maybe accurate, but they were laden with simple mistakes and it gave the lie to their competence with the content.

You wouldn’t wear perfectly good underwear if it were dirty, would you? Then be sure your writing is clean.

One resolution

rogersgeorge on January 1st, 2012

If you ever put pen to paper (perhaps I should be more general—words to paper or screen), you should make one resolution this year if it’s not already part of your lifestyle. It’s this:


Resolve never to commit anything to writing without at least re-reading it. Look for two things.

First, look for obvious goofs, such as reversed lettres, the space before punctuation , and for heaven’s sake, words that your spelchecker notices. This sort of mistake makes you look careless.

The other thing to proofread for is harder to find. Look for wrong words, items your spellchecker misses: using mute when you mean moot, peak when you mean pique, and a million others. Think about words that could be better. I saw a sign today that referred to trees “more than 60 feet.”  How about “taller than 60 feet?” This is the hard part of writing, and a large percentage of this website is about these hard things. Consider becoming a regular reader!

I wrote an article that covers this subject in more detail. It’s free; check it out. http://ezinearticles.com/?Improve-Your-Writing-in-One-Step,-and-Four-Ways-to-Follow-the-Step&id=2808217.