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  • Michael Dunne

National Proofreading Day

Funk & Wagnall's (circa 1910)

Good morning! I suspect many of you won't realize this, but today is National Proofreading Day. Proofreading is defined as, "(t)o read printers' proofs, copy, etc., to detect and mark errors, especially as an employee of a typesetting firm, newspaper office, or publishing house." Despite the term proofread coming into use in the late 1800s, people have probably been proofreading since the days of cuneiform writing on clay tablets. These days, we employ any number of electronic tools to correct our writing ahead of publication. Back in the day, I suspect the writer was also the proofreader. I can't imagine an ancient Mesopotamian scribe or medieval monk taking their scrupulously inscribed work to someone and saying, "Will you proofread this for me?"

Frankly, the image of a monk painstakingly writing his manuscript and making an error about halfway through haunts me. What would the quality level look like in modern writing if we all had to print our work by hand? Can you imagine the level of proofreading involved in getting the 1910 Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Dictionary of the English Language (pictured here on my kitchen counter) to print? There is still a need for professional proofreaders today. Despite all of our technological advances, most writers need a second set of eyes to help them see past the story, and zero in on the style, grammar and punctuation. I am privileged to have a number of outstanding fiction and non-fiction authors who trust me to proofread - and in some cases, edit - their works. It is a fact that typographical errors, misspellings and so on will distract readers from your core message. Have you completed a writing project? Please drop me a line and let's talk about how proofreading can help your manuscript. Happy National Proofreading Day! MD

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