A guide to proofreading in a post-proofreading age

How and why to cool your eye

Proofreading holds about the same appeal to the masses as another O.J. book. But darn it, we need it!

Having been trained in the school of ‘write what people want, not what they need,’ I should know better. But every week hundreds of publications roll into my mailbox littered with typos. I’m not just talking about grammatical errors. (I’m somewhat more forgiving than a lot of editors.) I’m talking about typos, bad breaks, widows, orphans, typestyle errors, and misplaced copy that should be caught after the pages are laid out. Things like a 60-point headline on a lead story that screamed, ‘Deafness doesn’t dominish winning attitude.’ (‘Duh’-minish?)

But it’s not just newsletter editors ignoring their proofreading p’s and q’s. The 1997-98 Oahu White Pages phone directory has a litany of errors beginning with the type size of the listings … five- to six-point. This cures many a proofreading problem. Just make the type too small to read and you’re safe! Of course, some of the directories have pages that are upside-down. Maybe with that small type no one will notice.

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