Final Proofreading FinesseJanet Fix
by Jan Fix, owner/editor
I submitted this piece recently to a local publisher in hopes of creating some ground rules for final proofreads. As you may or may not realize, there are several levels of editing, the very last level is a final proofread before and after typesetting. This addresses the necessary (but not all-encompassing) elements of final proofread (after mechanical and content edits). If you are a writer or editor of any kind, it would behoove you to take these to heart, as they make the difference between gold-plated and solid gold.
Top 10 Critical Eye Maneuvers for a Great Final Proofread
BEFORE YOU BEGIN, KNOW WHICH STYLE GUIDE APPLIES
and/or ANY EXCEPTIONS TO THOSE RULES
**this list is not all-encompassing, nor in order of importance, but a guideline**
- Numbers : Know which ones to spell out and which ones to numerate.
- Consistent Time: Make sure one version is consistently used throughout document.
- Consistent Spelling: Make sure spellings of names and other terminology are consistently spelled and/or capitalized throughout the document.
- Consistent verb tense and point of view.
- Accurate use of terminology (i.e., advice v. advise).
- Consistent and proper use of spacing between paragraphs, indents, sentences, and other punctuation.
- Proper use of quotation marks and associated punctuation.
- Proper use and spacing of em-dashes, hyphens, and ellipses.
- Consistent and proper use of commas (i.e., with “too,” short comments like “yes, sir” or “yes sir,” and serial commas). May be writer-specific to elicit a particular mood or cadence. Know your writer.
- Proper use of capitalization for terms, titles, departments, etc. (i.e., military, government, academic). May be audience- or writer-specific. Know your audience and writer.