Final Proofreading Finesse

Final Proofreading Finesse

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**

  1. Numbers :  Know which ones to spell out and which ones to numerate.
  2. Consistent Time:  Make sure one version is consistently used throughout document.
  3. Consistent Spelling:  Make sure spellings of names and other terminology are consistently spelled and/or capitalized throughout the document.
  4. Consistent verb tense and point of view.
  5. Accurate use of terminology (i.e., advice v. advise).
  6. Consistent and proper use of spacing between paragraphs, indents, sentences, and other punctuation.
  7. Proper use of quotation marks and associated punctuation.
  8. Proper use and spacing of em-dashes, hyphens, and ellipses.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

 

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Final Proofread Checklist

10 Top Critical Eye Maneuvers for a Great Final Proofread

_________________

BEFORE YOU BEGIN, KNOW WHICH STYLE GUIDE APPLIES

and/or ANY EXCEPTIONS TO THOSE RULES

  1. Numbers : Know which ones to spell out and which ones to numerate.

  1. Consistent Time: Make sure one version is consistently used throughout document.

  1. Consistent Spelling: Make sure spellings of names and other terminology are consistently spelled and/or capitalized throughout the document.

  1. Consistent verb tense and point of view.

  1. Accurate use of terminology (i.e., advice v. advise).

  1. Consistent and proper use of spacing between paragraphs, indents, sentences, and other punctuation.

  1. Proper use of quotation marks and associated punctuation.

  1. Proper use and spacing of em-dashes, hyphens, and ellipses.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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