|Report on pie eating contest|
|MINUTES FOR SOCIAL COMMITTEE, ACME COMPANY|
|Next Meeting: July 25, 20xx, Boardroom, Acme Company Headquarters|
|June 26, 20xx|
|Minutes of May 20, 20xx, Meeting|
|Letter from Pepe LePew|
|Follow-up on company picnic planning (per motion of May 20)|
|Boardroom, Acme Company Headquarters, Desert City, Nevada|
|Discussion of summer events (new business)|
|In Attendance: Elmer F. Fudd, Wile E. Coyote, John F. Doe, Jane C. Smith
Absent: T. Devil, Bugs Bunny
People are either good spellers or they aren’t. Most of us have a few words that we regularly forget how to spell. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t produce letters, memos, and reports that are perfect.
Here are some tips for making your documents the best that they can be:
Proofreading carelessly can spoil a writer’s best efforts. Proofreading is classic evidence that writing looks different to the writer and to the reader. Our brains really think that everything we do is correct, so we have a hard time recognizing our own errors.
To the writer, typographical or spelling errors may not mean all that much. So your finger slipped, or you always put two t’s in “commitment.” For the reader, an unfixed typo can transform the writer from a smart person into a careless writer in the twinkling of an eye.
It is impossible to read about “fist class work” or “shot meetings” without interrupting the flow of what you are reading. It may be unfair that proofreading matters so much, but it does.
If you can put yourself in the reader’s position, you’ll proofread obsessively, gripped by the fear that a mistake will turn you into a laughingstock! Learning some specific techniques, however, will help alleviate that problem as you become better at proofreading and create better documents.
Proofreading errors are different from punctuation or spelling or usage problems, and you fix them differently. Punctuation, spelling, and usage are knowledge problems, and you fix them by learning. Proofreading problems are usually a matter of seeing, and you fix them by learning to look.
The better you read, the worse you’ll proofread, unless you are consciously aware of what you are doing. Good readers and fast readers guess what the words are as they read the text, and they just check in now and again to see if they are right. The more they can guess, the less they have to look and the faster and more efficiently they read.
To be a good proofreader, you have to go back to being a child again, or pretend that you are just learning to read in English. Look at every word as it comes along.
Here are some principles to guide you.