Writing Hint #14 Write, rite or right?
I had a phone call yesterday from the chairman of a committee. I serve as the minute secretary of said committee. I’d recently given him a draft copy of the minutes of the recent AGM for proofreading. I thought I’d done a fairly good job.
He found a number of small typos and other errors. See, the problem with proofreading your own writing is that you think you know what it should say, but what you have typed is similar, but wrong. For example, I had “a” where it should have been “an”. Simple error, but so important in that first impression made on an editor or publisher – or reader of your blog. In many cases, first impressions are the most important and lasting impressions. In today’s busy world, you often do not get a chance at a second impression.
My advice is: as much as possible, get someone else to proofread your writing before sending it off to a publisher.
And bloggers – do everyone a favour – at least proofread your own writing.
Writing Hint: Make it a rite to always write the right words.
- The importance of proofreading – with links to other articles.
PS: I made sure I proofread this article carefully. I actually found 2 errors. I hope that it is error free now. Let me know if I’ve missed anything.
The only thing I would potentially pick you up on (and it is rather pedantic) is “typos”: “typographical errors” should (in my opinion) be shortened to typo’s (the apostrophe denotes dropped letters). Although you may well argue that in the context of this informal blog, the informal use of the word typo is justified, in which case the plural would correctly be, typos.
I think it comes down to personal preference to a degree.
The only other things I would pick you up on are style issues – which again, are personal preference things. If I was the editor of a publication printing your work, I might change some of the sentences to fit in with my preferred style – but otherwise I feel you are quite within your rights to write however you want.
One thing I’ve learned about writing is that, like tax laws, the rules we are often taught about writing (especially when it comes to sentence structure and style), are very much open to interpretation. Hence, I feel it is wrong to insist that other people match a particular style that I have personally developed – unless it is me or my publication they are writing for.
You make some very good points Sim’. Thanks for your comments.
I find that style is a somewhat slippery little sucker to nail down exactly as to what it is and how it all works. I guess it is right up there with one’s “voice” as a writer. This is something that develops with time, effort and experience.
I know that I can effectively write in different styles according to the type of writing, the target audience, the type of publication and things like the context as you mentioned. These are important aspects of writing we all need to keep in mind.