We’ve spent much time talking about editing, and now it’s proofreading time to take the front stage. We’ve all had the experience of reading a professional text and noticing a typo. The immediate response is typically one any writer would prefer to avoid as there’s nothing like losing a reader’s confidence or better yet having readers looking for more errors rather than reading the content. To mitigate any chance of errors, it’s essential that all writers carefully proofread – or scrutinize their full text for careless typos, misspellings, etc.
Proofreading is the intentional act of checking for correctness and accuracy. Misspellings, typos, and flawed citations might not directly affect the content, but they do impact the reader’s confidence in your writing. Consider the effect of the several errors in this correspondence I recently received from Macy’s:
Upon checking, when I try to check our system you already purchase this items on there lowest price.
I love to apply discount but my system is not allowing me already to do the adjustment.
If you have further questions or comments, please contact Macy’s Credit Customer Service online at by selecting Macy’s Credit Card, followed by choosing ‘Contact Credit Services’ or by telephone Monday through Saturday 9:00am-9:00pm and Sunday 11:00am-8:00pm at 1-877-493-9207. 1
The email succeeded in informing me of their decision, but it failed in impressing me of the sophistication of the customer service department at one of the US’s largest retailer. Finding one error actually incited me to look for other errors, and sure enough I found them. We’re human, we err, and it doesn’t take rocket science to find mistakes.
You’ve spent valuable time in writing your dissertation or thesis, don’t neglect this final polish. Don’t be complacent even if you’ve been proofreading all along. Writing is fraught with human imperfection. Dedicate time to proofread the full document before submitting, or hire a WEX editor to scrutinize and polish your manuscript.
Venturing on your own?
Check out the WEX Proofreading Checklist for that final scrutiny of your text.
1Key to errors in example:
- Try should be past tense: tried
- This should be “these” or this item (singular)
- There should be their
- Should be subjective: I would love or I’d love
- Double quotes