Editors Watned

Who’d a thunk it? March 8 is National Proofreading Day! Despite what my family, friends and former colleagues may believe as evidence to the contrary, I swear that I wasn’t the one who lobbied to create this red-letter day to promote error-free writing.

(Sidebar: March 4th is National Grammar Day. Might this sterling pairing be a coincidence? I think not!)

Imagine the fun Hallmark could have with cards to celebrate this holiday!

I’ve been persnickety on this topic for as long as I can remember. My mind automatically proofreads menus, ads shown before movies, pamphlets, fliers, agendas, emails, and, sadly, social media posts. At this point, it’s just … in me. I read, I proof, I find. I hate to admit it, but proofreading makes me happy.

I’ve convinced myself it’s a calling, albeit a compulsive one. And I know that I’m not the only member of this club.

Mistakes make us look bad. Fixing an error or polishing a paragraph or presentation feels great! And such talent has proven an easy way to help a friend or strengthen a business.

Harkening back to my journalism days, two types of editing are commonly used interchangeably — copy editing and proofreading. Both types clean up writing; each contributes to honing the message.

Copy editing aims to polish the copy so it’s clear and retains the author’s voice and meaning. Copy editors check for punctuation, spelling, and grammatical structure errors, but they also keep in mind the writer’s focus and style. A good copy editor looks to identify and correct the following:

  • Awkward transitions
  • Confusing syntax
  • Grammar
  • Problematic or misused words
  • Readability
  • Spelling
  • Tone and style deviations
  • Uneven copy flow
  • Wordiness

Proofreading is the last step in the writing process. Proofreading entails carefully checking a near-final draft and correcting typos, grammatical mistakes, and other writing issues before publication or hitting the Send key.

Old School Editing Marks

When I toured the Museum of Broadway in New York City last year (If you’re a fan, go … ), my silly heart smiled when, amongst the exhibits, I spotted original manuscripts of productions that included the authors’ proofreading marks and editing symbols. You know … those funny little marks indicating corrections to the typed (on a typewriter) copy tied to delete, insert, transpose, paragraph, period, comma, apostrophe, quotation marks, capitalize, and lowercase. That’s all old-school journalism; these days, proofreading is done digitally using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes, Google Docs Suggesting feature, and PDF markup software like Adobe Acrobat.

“To write is human, to edit is divine.” (Stephen King)

My affliction is more a blessing than a curse. To steal a line from the brilliant Dave Barry, proofreading is valuable to see if you any words out. As you might expect, a few Murphy’s Laws pertain to this cross that members of the club bear. For example, if you write anything offering advice about editing or proofreading — as I have here — there will categorically be a blemish of some sort hidden in what you have written. The same holds for a teacher passing out an assignment to class or when you’re emailing the boss with updates on your latest project; regardless of three rounds of content edits, copyedit scrutiny, and two rounds of proofreading, mistakes appear.

Lamentably, another established “law” is that many of us do our best proofreading after we hit the Send key. Ergo, the simplest secret of proofreading is to become your message’s reader instead of its writer.

I’m not a word wizard, but I am an editor. So close enough.

One of life’s truisms is whatever one does should be done thoroughly. Attention to detail always matters. We should be heedful about the small things in our lives, including our writing.

Such attentiveness pays off. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 82% of employers want candidates with strong written communication skills, and 59.6% prefer someone who is detail-oriented.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where folks are better at editing their photos than their grammar. Leaving mistakes in your writing can impact the impression you make. Want to be the white knight at work? Write, edit and proofread well. It’s a skill that can be honed. Become the go-to person on your team and for your boss. Proofreading will help you put your best foot forward.

Dew Knot Trussed You’re Come Pewter Too Core Wreck Yore Miss Steaks

National Proofreading Day allows me to introduce another lazy list I’ve accumulated over the years. Just for chits and giggles, the following sentences actually appeared in church bulletins. They’re fun and sometimes embarrassing examples of how proofreading matters, even in informal communication.

If you’ve got time to review a somewhat lengthy list (the real blog ended above), enjoy! If not, no worries … and thanks for checking my work.

  • A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
  • A cookbook is being compiled by the ladies of the church. Please submit your favorite recipe, also a short antidote for it.
  • On behalf of Mrs. Smith and her family, our sincere thanks go out to those sending flowers, cards and contributing to the death of her husband.
  • A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.
  • After the sermon: A moment of silence for prayer and medication.
  • All singles are invited to join us Friday at 7pm for the annual Christmas Sing-Alone.
  • Announcement to the Moms Who Care ladies group: There will be no Moms who care this week.
  • Applications are now being accepted for 2-year-old nursery workers.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What Is Hell?” — come early and listen to our choir practice.
  • Highlights of the pastor’s world tour included encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.
  • Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.
  • Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.
  • Bored? Come learn about jobs in our church. Try a missionary position.
  • Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
  • Coming Up — Theological Open House. We discuss thought-provoking topics. Your opinions are hardly welcome.
  • Diana and Don request your presents at their wedding.
  • Don’t let worry kill you off — let the church help.
  • During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
  • At Adult Learning this month, Betty Sue will conduct a cooking class. She finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog.
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  • For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • Great news! Doctors have performed a CAT scan on Pastor McLaren’s head and report that they have found nothing!
  • If you need to heave during the Postlude, please do so quietly.
  • Illiterate? Write to the church office for help.
  • Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24th in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
  • It’s Drug Awareness Week: Get involved in drugs before your children do.
  • Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.
  • Let us join David and Lisa in the celebration of their wedding and bring their happiness to a conclusion.
  • Life groups meet on Wednesday evening at 7pm for food, fun, and fellowwhipping.
  • Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7pm. Please use the back door.
  • Men’s Prayer Breakfast. No charge, but your damnation will be gratefully accepted.
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang I will not pass this way again, giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  • Mr. Bradford was elected and has accepted the office of head deacon. We could not get a better man.
  • Next Sunday is the family hayride and bonfire at the Fowlers’. Bring your own hot dogs and guns. Friends are welcome! Everyone come for a fun time.
  • Next Sunday, Mrs. Vinson will be the soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on “It’s a Terrible Experience.”
  • Next Thursday, there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
  • Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8pm in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
  • The pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to the church secretary.
  • Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
  • Potluck supper Sunday at 5pm — prayer and medication to follow.
  • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
  • Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
  • Thank you, Steve, who once again has worked hard to clean the pastor off the basement floor.
  • The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: I Upped My Pledge — Up Yours.
  • The beautiful flowers on the altar this morning are to celebrate the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
  • The choir will meet at the Larsen house for fun and sinning.
  • The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
  • The class on prophecy has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.
  • The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7pm. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  • Love this T-shirt from Life Is Good!

    The Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.

  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement Friday.
  • The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
  • The “Over 60s Choir” will be disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church.
  • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
  • The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
  • The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing: Break Forth Into Joy.
  • The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.
  • The Senior Choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.
  • The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”
  • The sermon this morning: “Contemporary Issues #3 — Euthanasia.” The closing song: “Take My Life.”
  • The visiting monster today is Rev. Jack Bains.
  • There has never been a better time to invite your fiends to church.
  • This afternoon there will be a meeting in the south and north ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
  • This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
  • This evening at 7pm, there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
  • Thursday at 5pm, there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become little mothers, please see the minister in his study.
  • Today’s Sermon: How Much Can A Man Drink? with hymns from a full choir.
  • Ushers will swat the latecomers.
  • Visitors are asked to sing their names at the church entrance.
  • Wednesday, the Ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Jones will sing “Put Me In My Little Bed” accompanied by the pastor.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.
  • When parking on the north side of the church, please remember to park on an angel.

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Addendum from LSomerbyCooke …

Every time someone types “to funny,” I immediately picture them, emboldened, setting out on a quest to find funny. If you’re interested in my crusade to promote good writing, please visit my blog category The Written Word. If not, keep clam and always proofread!


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