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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Taylor

Stop Making Mistakes: How a Proofreader Can Improve Your Writing and Your Business

Are rules meant to be broken? Or is there just more than one right answer?

This is a question that we as proofreaders face on a daily basis. We are tasked with ensuring that the written word is correct, consistent, and clear. However, what happens when there is no clear answer? What do we do when the rules are not clear or when different style guides have conflicting advice?

During a recent conversation with a friend, he questioned how I had spelt a word in a just-off-the-press blog post. It got me thinking; sometimes the rules are not as straightforward as they may seem. The word "bookshop" can be spelt as two words "book shop" or as one word "bookshop", depending on the style guide or dictionary being consulted. In this case, there is no right or wrong answer – both spellings are technically correct, depending on the source.

I don't care how the word is spelt; let's just go to one now!

When it comes to proofreading, a good proofreader will be able to work within the guidelines of the chosen style sheet to ensure that the writing is consistent, clear, and error-free. However, it is also important to remember that personal choice can come into play when it comes to certain aspects of proofreading, such as word choice or sentence structure.

Ultimately, the key to effective proofreading is to strike a balance between following established rules and guidelines, while also allowing for the individual preferences and style of the writer. With a clear and well-defined style sheet, and the help of a skilled proofreader, writers can ensure that their writing is polished, professional, and reflects their unique voice and perspective.

Notebook with a pen on top
Pen and paper is all you need to get started.

When working with clients, we often encounter different style guides and preferences. Some clients may prefer the Chicago Manual of Style, while others may prefer the Associated Press or the Oxford style guide. Each of these guides has its own rules and conventions, and as proofreaders, we need to be familiar with all of them in order to provide the best service to our clients.

One of the most common areas of controversy when it comes to style is the use of the Oxford comma. Some style guides require the use of the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma), while others do not. The Oxford comma is the comma that is placed before the final "and" or "or" in a list of three or more items. For example, "I bought apples, oranges, and bananas." The Oxford comma is the comma after "oranges." Some writers and editors argue that the Oxford comma is unnecessary and can lead to confusion, while others believe that it is essential for clarity and consistency.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to use the Oxford comma (or any other stylistic convention) comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of the project and the writer. As proofreaders, our job is to ensure that the client's chosen style guide is adhered to consistently and accurately throughout the document.

The use of different style sheets and personal choice can play a significant role in effective proofreading, and as a professional proofreader, I am here to help ensure that your writing is polished, error-free and reflects your unique voice and perspective. In this post, I will outline some of the key reasons why hiring a professional proofreader is a great investment for anyone looking to take their writing to the next level.

a woman holding a pen in her right hand and a paper diary in her left hand
Schedule time to chat to a proofreader and start improving your writing now.

Essentially, a professional proofreader can provide a fresh and objective perspective on your writing. When you have been working on a piece of writing for an extended period of time, it can be easy to overlook errors, inconsistencies, or areas where the writing could be improved. Having a professional proofreader or editor review your work, you can benefit from their experience and expertise, and gain valuable insights and feedback that can help you to refine your writing and improve its overall quality.

Another key benefit of hiring a professional proofreader is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your writing is error-free and ready for publication. Whether you are submitting a manuscript to a publisher, sending a proposal to a potential client, or posting content on your website or social media channels, the last thing you want is for your writing to be marred by typos, grammatical errors, or other mistakes. A professional proofreader can help to ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and error-free, giving you the confidence to share it with the world.

In addition to correcting errors and inconsistencies, a professional proofreader can also help to ensure that your writing is consistent in terms of tone, style, and formatting. A professional proofreader can work within the parameters of your chosen style sheet to ensure that your writing is consistent and reflects your intended voice and tone.

After all, hiring a professional proofreader can save you time and stress in the long run. Proofreading is a time-consuming and often tedious process, and when you are juggling multiple writing projects or deadlines, it can be easy to overlook certain errors or inconsistencies. By outsourcing your proofreading to a professional, you can free up your time to focus on other aspects of your writing, while also ensuring that your work is polished and error-free. It often isn't as expensive as you imagine to hire a freelance proofreader. Just ask, what have you got to lose?

A table top with laptop, diary, pen and dark blue notebook on it
It's a great idea to get a professional proofreader or editor to help with your project.

So, there are lots of reasons why hiring a professional proofreader is a great investment for anyone looking to take their writing to the next level. Whether you are a writer, blogger, business owner, or student, having a fresh and objective perspective on your writing can help you to identify areas for improvement and refine your overall approach. With the help of a professional proofreader, you can ensure that your writing is clear, concise, error-free, and consistent with your intended voice and style. So if you want to elevate your writing and stand out in a crowded marketplace, consider hiring a professional proofreader like me today! Get in touch and see how I can help you to be your best.

Vote for your choice:

  • Bookshop

  • Book shop

  • Bookstore


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