7 keys to foolproof proofreading

Follow these tips to avoid mistakes and typos.

Follow these tips to avoid mistakes and typos

This column is about mistakes, and I am supremely well qualified to write it. I’m the idiot who once let an e-mail subject line read, “Why you should ignore your grammer checker.”

I hope the correct spelling of the word “grammar” in the body of the e-mail was enough to convince readers I did know how to spell the word and that the error was a result of working too quickly rather than shameful ignorance. It made me feel better (but only slightly) to receive an e-mail from a friend that same morning saying he’d found the following correction in the previous week’s Time magazine:

“Setting the record straight: We referred to ‘cotton sheared from sheep.’ Sheep produce wool, of course, not cotton …”

My friend wrote: “This (a) Confirms my sense that proofreading is a dangerous job, and (b) Is a reminder that quality control is falling apart everywhere.” Falling apart indeed. In recent months I have been undone by YouTube (I foolishly called it “Utube”) and a host of silly typos.

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