Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Do we really need editors? Do we really need proofreaders?

Do we really need editors? Do we really need proofreaderes?

Before anyone comes after me with hammers raised, I'll answer the questions.

Yes. We need both. But, life might be a tad easier for these experts if we had more a more effective education system. After all, look at the picture below. It's a sign that's been posted all over the complex where I live.

Almost makes you want to through (sic) up, doesn't it?

Now either someone was in a hurry to get that sign off the computer, off the printer and onto the local sign posting areas or they weren't paying attention in English class. I don't know who made the sign but if it's the person I think was responsible then I believe that person was just in a hurry and didn't proofread it before sending it to the printer.

Using proper grammar and spelling presents a problem for many people, even those of us who make a living in the writing trade. I recall writing an article I prepared about something I was very familiar with, and the final product was perfect -- almost.

When it came to the closing "For further information, call ...."

Being a creature of habit, I listed a toll free number starting with 1-800. Unfortunately, the number was supposed to start 1-888. I was embarrassed. The head of the company I was writing about was angry. And the company to whom the 800 number belonged tracked the magazine down to find out why he was getting so many calls for something that had nothing to do with his business.

Oh, my proofreader apologized, but nobody outside of the magazine staff cared. The magazine and the writer were to blame.

Unfortunately, I make mistakes, mainly because I write fast, and because I am often satisfied with my first draft. My grammar is better than average but I still goof up at times. My spelling is much better than average but I am grateful for spell check. I paid attention in all 12 years of high school English.

Still, I'd be overjoyed to have a full-time proofreader as a roommate.