Fiend or Friend? 5 Tips for Proofreading Your Copy.
David Orsini and I got a good chuckle today when proofreading a letter we’d written for one of our clients.
1) David proofed the letter 3x and brought it into my office.
2) Our client proofed the letter and sent approval back with the green light.
3) I proofed the letter 3x and didn’t find any glaring mistakes.
However, I proofed the letter at the end of the business day and was a bit fatigued. So I decided to pick it back up first thing in the morning. Good thing! The copy read:
“If you or your fiends and family members ever need someone…”
Since “fiend” is a word, spell check didn’t catch this error! Here are some tips to ensure you don’t make a gaffe on your next correspondence:
1) Don’t put too much weight on your spell checker. Type-o’s pop up in many funny ways, so don’t count on a computer to do the heavy lifting for you.
2) Get a minimum of 3 people to proofread any critical correspondence you write before sending. Preferably, you’ll select 3 people with high attention to detail. Feel free to have more than 3 proofread your piece though – the more the better, believe me!
3) Read the copy backwards at least one time. This is the best way to identify double double words (more common than you’d think, especially when it happens at a line break).
4) Proofread the copy when you’re at maximum alertness. I’m really glad I read the letter again first thing in the morning.
5) Proofread one sentence at a time – very slowly. This is not one of those tasks you’re just trying to knock out so you can tackle another job. It requires patience and diligence, so don’t rush it.
If you have any fiends (or friends) you’re looking to connect with via electronic or postal mail, be sure to put these five tips to work before hitting the ‘send’ button. It might save you some embarrassment! By the way, did you catch my double double type-o in this article?