By Howard Robson, Guest Blogger
Great bloggers neither leave their content unpolished nor do they publish before their work is wholly refined. To bring traffic to your website and enlarge your targeted audience, it is essential to respect the proofreading process.
Whether you’re working on a paper, blog, article, e-mail, or other essential document, always be sure to proofread it and make sure it delivers the proper message. Here are seven ideas you can apply.
- Change Your Mindset
If you are always grumpy about revising your work and find no fun in it, your results will show it. You might lose readers, which won’t help in the long run. Here’s how to adopt a growth mindset:
- After you’ve created your piece, take time to reflect on your work. Is there anything you don’t feel unsatisfied about? Are you content with delivering this message to your niche? Is your grammar correct?
- If you have unanswered questions, write down ideas to address them. What would you like to improve, how, and in what time frame? Set goals and deadlines, then start working on them.
- Treat yourself kindly and take regular breaks. Nobody can work non-stop! Work 50 minutes, then take a 10-minute break. During your free time, meditate, dance, read, listen to classical music, or do something that loosens you up. Avoid getting sidetracked into social media.
- Practice Makes Perfect
Become a better proofreader through practice. When you don’t have any assigned tasks, write! Yes, simply write down your thoughts using the best language you can.
Dan Creed, content writer at AustralianEssays, shares this opinion: “You could write about your day, your plans, your goals, or anything else that goes through your mind. Search for synonyms for words you are displeased with. Rock that learning curve!”
- Reading Is Essential
To improve your writing skills, allocate at least 15 minutes a day or more to reading a well-written article. Sign up for The Economist, HuffPost, The New York Times, or any magazine that’s attractive to you. Pay attention to the writer’s approach and style. That will inspire you to progress—in both your proofreading and your writing.
- Find a Proofreading Buddy
Identify a colleague you can reach out to. Work with a person who’s specialized in your area of interest. You can trade tips, exchange ideas, and do each other’s proofreading projects. Help that person help you.
- Write Down Your Common Errors
Design a “mistake list” and go through it every time you’ve finished writing an article. For instance, I know that “affective” and “effective” are two words I always mix up, so I include them in my list. Every time I use these words in my articles, I check twice to see if I got them right. Use your mistakes as learning tools. (Excellent resource: Word Trippers Tips)
- Be Patient
Take things step by step, and don’t rush when you write, polish, or proofread your piece. Remember, you are not done until you’ve revised your content to your satisfaction. Be patient with your learning process. Read and write daily, and you’ll make fewer mistakes, write better (and faster!), and have more free time.
- Ask for Help
Don’t hesitate to get help if you need it. Ask your colleague or even a professional editor to re-read your piece after you’ve polished it and proofread it yourself. Take the feedback you receive into consideration and learn from your errors.
To become a great proofreader, I suggest you set a positive mindset, practice reading and writing daily, find a proofreading buddy, ask for help when needed, and be patient and kind with yourself.
What additional ideas do you have that would improve the proofreading process? Share them here.
by Todd Hunt, Business Humorist
In case the Easter punny misses you on Sunday, here are five April Fools puns to fathom:
1) Acupuncture is a jab well done.
2) If a clock is hungry does it go back four seconds?
3) Without geometry, life is pointless.
4) Corduroy pillows are making headlines.
5) I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words. (Barbara’s favorite)
OK – your turn. Write your worst puns in the comments below!
Business humorist Todd Hunt speaks to organizations that want to add fun to their events and send members back to work smiling—with tips to improve communication and success. Visit him at ToddHuntSpeaker.com
Editor’s Note: Todd tackles Word Tripper types of confusing words as I do. His latest video clears up the difference between “podium vs. lectern” (because you’re dying to know). And you can watch his past episodes here. Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: Every day is National Grammar Day in my book. Still, I’m glad to have a day that draws attention to word misuses and what’s correct. Plus I never forget March 4th; it’s our wedding anniversary. I’m blessed to be married to a wonderful guy for 27 years!
by Barbara McNichol
I love watching the TV show “Dancing with the Stars” but even this escape doesn’t give me a break from grammar glitches. In one episode alone, I counted four times when participants and/or hosts misused the pronouns as they spoke.
As a society, if we repeatedly hear words used incorrectly on national TV (and all around us), how will we ever know what’s right?
Without attempting to overcome years of grammar neglect, watch out for certain common pronoun misuses so you get a feel for what’s correct—and what’s not.
“Me and Jack” finished the report. It should be “Jack and I” finished the report.
Rule: When the subject is more than one, you need a subjective pronoun (I, she, he, we, they, who). (“Subjective” refers to the pronoun’s place in the sentence—as a subject.)
Clue: Say the sentence without “Jack.” I finished the report. Now it’s easy to tell which pronoun is correct.
“Bob hired Peggy and I to draft the proposal.” It should be “Peggy and me.”
Rule: “Peggy and me” is the object of the verb “draft” and therefore requires an objective pronoun (me, her, him, us, them, whom). (“Objective” refers to the pronoun’s place in the sentence—as an object.)
Clue: Say the sentence without “Peggy and.” Does it sound right to say “Bob hired I to draft the proposal”? You know it doesn’t!
“Between you and I, we got the job done.” It should be “you and me.”
Rule: In this sentence, “me” is the object of the preposition “between” and therefore requires an objective pronoun (me, her, him, us, them, whom).
“Roger, Lloyd, and myself finished the drawings.” It should be “Roger, Lloyd, and I finished the drawings.”
Rule: You can’t use a “-self” pronoun (myself, yourself, himself, herself, themselves, ourselves) unless it refers to another noun or pronoun used earlier in the sentence.
Clue: Look for the referring word that precedes the pronoun.
To receive a one-page chart that shows at a glance which pronouns to use where in a sentence, email me with “Proper Pronouns” in the subject line.
Get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions with a resource that makes you a better writer all year long.This 52-week subscription program provides Word Tripper of the Week, a multitude of writing tips, and even two crossword puzzles!
Praise for Word Trippers Tips
“Barbara’s Word Trippers material should be in everyone’s back pocket. It is a quintessential reference for those words that can stump us with their appropriate use. Highly recommended.” – Mary Shaefer, author
“You don’t want to embarrass yourself in print. But figuring out the differences can be time-consuming and sometimes confusing. You’ll find clear explanations for each of the commonly confused word pairs. That makes it quick and easy to select the option that applies and then get back to the task at hand.” – Lynette Smith, editor, author
Editor’s note: This article struck a chord (not cord) with me and fans of Word Trippers. It offers numerous examples of written language misuses on television—networks that should know better! Be sure to leave your comments and examples below. (For a resource to find the right words fast, go to www.wordtrippers.com)
Reprinted from e-newsletter for Grammarbook.com
TV networks’ graphics departments have long been out of control with their intrusive cluelessness.
After 9/11, many cable channels initiated a constant “crawl” of news at the bottom of the screen. The spellbinding stream of words, slow and endless, is perversely distracting.
But if you run a news channel, shouldn’t credibility be a front-burner concern? Shaky language skills for all to see raise serious questions about your standards and practices. Are you stupid, or do you just think we are? Who put manic ignoramuses in charge of your graphics department?
The examples that follow all happened in recent months:
- An ABC affiliate, thinking mischievous has four syllables, spelled it “mischievious.” Another ABC graphic said, “Wake Forrest,” then proved it was no fluke with “Angeles National Forrest.”
- An NBC affiliate came up with “To good to be true.” We’re still taught about to, too, and two, aren’t we? Maybe it was Bring Your First-Grader to Work Day.
- Fox fell into a common trap with “wrecking havoc”—the proper phrase is wreaking havoc. And Fox embarrassed itself with “embarassed.” In “alledged embassy bomber,” it earned an F by adding a second d to alleged. A superfluous ‘i’ in “How has the president faired?” meant fare thee well, credibility.
- CNN joined the party with “theif” and “Iranian peoples’ belief.” Put that apostrophe where it belongs, would you? And CNN might have won the knucklehead sweepstakes with this bizarre bulletin: “Houses OKs climate change.” Where do you begin with that one? It’s an inspired fusion of horrid grammar and utter meaninglessness.
Why do TV networks, some of them scrutinized around the world, undermine themselves with sloppy grammar, spelling, and punctuation?
Please share your comments and examples of language misuses on TV.
by Barbara McNichol
As a life-long editor who’s had a professional editing service for 23+ years, I frequently trip over embarrassing writing mistakes—e.g., “except” instead of “accept” or “complement” instead of “compliment” and hundreds more. Clearly, English is a tricky language!
The question I’ve asked for eons is “How can I help people avoid embarrassment and quickly find the correct word?” So I coined the Word Trippers model as a way to quickly distinguish between tricky words. Here’s an example:
Affirm, confirm – “Affirm” means to declare positively or firmly, to assert as true or factual, while “confirm” means to verify, make firmer, strengthen, support or establish validity. “Working on the campaign helped confirm my intention to go into politics,” he affirmed in his announcement speech.
I couldn’t stop! After creating an extensive resource featuring 390+ common Word Trippers, I sent out Word Tripper of the Week for 3+ years, and I featured Word Trippers in my WordShops.
Then it dawned on me. I could combine Word Tripper of the Week with proven writing techniques through an innovative subscription resource: Word Trippers Tips. It’s designed for:
- Business professionals
- VAs and admin assistants
- English language learners
- Authors, bloggers, speakers
- High school and college students
- Grant writers, court reporters, journalists
Word Trippers Tips assists people who value accuracy in communication.
- Saves you time looking up definitions
- Establishes your credibility as a communicator
- Helps avoid writing mistakes that lead to confusion
- Assists in understanding the nuances of our language
- Boosts your confidence by knowing the correct words
All these benefits are yours! Bring Word Trippers Tips and its multiple bonuses into your world.
Word Trippers Tips saves me a lot of research time because it gives me a quick reference instead of going to Google. I save every Word Tripper of the Week so when my boss or co-workers disagree on how to use a word, Word Trippers becomes the referee. All of us live on email. If someone sends me one that’s sloppily written, it’s like saying, “I don’t have time for you.” I want to be sure I write clearly and accurately. Word Trippers Tips is perfect for me! – Susan Powell, Team Lead, Ratner Companies
Word Tripper Tips—a 52-week subscription resource for only $99
With holiday gift-giving upon us, what could you give to the writer, student, business professional, or English language learner in your world? I have three excellent suggestions: Word Tripper Tips, Rev It Up Reading, and a new book Metaphors Be With You.
|1. Word Tripper Tips
Consider giving the gift of accuracy—a practical subscription program that features Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks with the Word Trippers ebook included plus excellent bonuses.
A Word Tripper is a succinct way to explain the difference between word pairs that commonly get confused—affect vs. effect, accept vs. except, and many more. When people know the difference and use the words accurately, they feel more confident in their writing and look smart, too!
Place a word choice guide at their fingertips—instantly. Go to www.WordTrippers.com/gift
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Know any English language educators? Suggest this program for helping students grasp our language better. Send them this link. #LearnEnglish #ESL #words #writing
|2. Rev It Up Reading Program
Here’s a fabulous speed reading program that’s perfect for busy professionals and those who want to further their studies and careers. It was created by speed reading expert Abby Marks Beale, the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading and 10 Days to Faster Reading.
Various options are available. Go here for complete details.
|3. Metaphors Be With You: An A to Z Dictionary of History’s Greatest Metaphorical Quotations
Dr. Mardy Grothe presents a new compendium of the English language’s finest metaphors with a meditation on their beauty and necessity. This essential guide for writers, readers, and anybody in love with language breaks new ground with its use of QR codes. These codes take you to a corresponding database on the web, making this work “a living, breathing museum.”
Order it here or through Amazon or Barnes & Noble in time for the holidays.
by Kathleen Watson (used with permission)
We’re about to the end (thank goodness!) of a historic election.
Or is it a historical election?
Or an historic / historical election?
Or maybe it’s simply hysterical?
If you’re now as confused as I am, here’s the rest of the story:
historic (adjective): famous or important in history, or potentially so; having great and lasting importance
The historic importance of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is widely recognized.
The president was pleased to see so many citizens attend the historic ceremony.
The Supreme Court has heard many historic cases.
historical (adjective): of or relating to history or past events; belonging to the past rather than the present; based on history
He has a collection of historical artifacts from the Revolutionary War.
There’s no historical data to support her claim.
Historical treasures abound at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
We historically have always followed the board meeting with dinner.
Historical also can mean showing development based on chronological order:
They provided a historical account of the battles of the Revolutionary War.
Killer Tip to help remember the difference:
One source describes historic as implying judgment, because the term deems something as significant. Historical, on the other hand, simply describes anything from or that occurred in the distant past.
And remember: a historical, not an historical
Hysterical, by the way, is defined as marked by uncontrollable, extreme emotion. Enough said.
To complete this post, there is a valid word that I don’t recall every having heard — and I don’t expect to ever use it, unless possibly in jest:
historicalness (noun), the state of having existed in the past; the quality or fact of being historical
Now you have it: the meanings and implications of historic and historical. Expand the enlightenment by sharing this post with others who might find these highly similar terms as confusing as I — and maybe some of you — did.
Kathleen Watson is known as the ruthless editor. She has just published an excellent grammar book that clears up questions that have been festering. Lie vs. lay is just one of 60 tips you’ll find in Grammar for People Who Hate Rules: Killer Tips from The Ruthless Editor. At $8.95, that’s just 15 cents a tip!
To buy your copy, click here: Grammar for People Who Hate Rules: Killer Tips from The Ruthless Editor.