On Writing, Page 5

Proofreading

After finishing a work of writing, one should, of course, go through it to look for typographical errors and mistakes made in haste such as "it's" for "its," or "there" for "their." At least with myself, such errors seem inevitable. However, one should never rely on one's self for a final proof of one's work.

It would be presumptuous and inconsiderate to ask another to proof one's initial rough draft which might contain numerous typos and hasty mistakes. However, one should always ask another to proof one's final version before it is submitted to editors or presented to whomever it is intended for. The reason why is that because one knows what one intended to type, one has a tendency to glide over mistakes such as typing "you" for "your," which, having compared notes with others, is a very common error for some reason. The word is typed as "you," but one sees "your" because that was what was intended.

Because another doesn't have any preconception about what a writer intended, a fresh pair of eyes is an invaluable help. I'm not saying that an editor will summarily reject a manuscript because it contains a typo or two. However, with the advent of personal computers editors have become inundated with slush submissions and look for any reason to stop reading and move on to the next submission. After all the work one has put into one's effort, why not go into the extremely competitive submission process with every advantage? It certainly can't hurt.

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