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Eyes open for mitsakes!

Proofreading isn't like normal reading. You read everything with a critical eye, from the very top of the page to the very bottom, including page numbers! In this post I'm going to highlight the most common mistakes that proofreaders see. If you didn't spot the mistake in the subject, you're not alone. Believe me.


The human brain is the most incredible thing. It makes us do things without us even realising we're doing it. Breathing? Yep. Blinking? Yep. But the brain is often so focused on what it's doing, that it can miss the the simplest of things in a piece of writing. Like the double 'the' in the sentence before.


So, here are a few of the most common errors we come across when proofreading.


Inconsistency


In your first paragraph, you give some background, sometimes including a date (e.g. 11th September 2020). Later on in the text, you refer to the date again, (September 11th 2020), which in format is completely different than when previously mentioned. This is one thing a proofreader will look out for. Consistency is key. It makes your writing more professional and generally creates a sense of reliability when things remain the same throughout.


Homophones


To break it down, it means 'same sound' (from the Greek homos - same, phone -sound). Their are many of these that crop up in your day to day writing, like the incorrect use of 'their' I just used. Here are a few more:


Your/you're

Hear/here

Right/write

To/too/two

New/knew


We're all guilty of it at times, I've even had to correct myself. I think it's sometimes a case of the fingers are working faster than the brian. Wink wink nudge nudge (*brain).


Apostrophes


The English language is a beautiful and confusing thing at times. Don't you think? Or do not you think as it could be? The use of apostrophes can be confusing. Mostly they're either missed completely, or incorrectly used. An apostrophe is used for contractions of two words, like 'don't', 'isn't', 'she's' and 'it's'. It is also used to show possession, such as 'the girl's hair', 'the dog's bone', and even if the word ends with an S an apostrophe should still be used. For example, 'Mrs McGinnes' class'.



In the end, our brain will sometimes see what it wants to see, instead of what it should be. And that, is where I come in.