Even the Pope Needs to Proofread

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I’ve written several blogs about the importance of proofreading. Maybe you’ve missed them. I don’t blame you… there are so many blogs out there. But if the news segment on the papal medal mishap didn’t convince you that proofreading is essential… well, I don’t know what will.

By now you’ve heard that story about how the Vatican had to withdraw more than 6,000 papal medals that went on sale because of a typo.  Four of the medallions, commemorating the beginning of Pope Francis’ papacy were sold before anyone noticed that “Jesus” was spelled “Lesus” on the medals.  Ouch.

As my grandmother used to say, “pobody’s nerfect!” And how.

For the love of all that is holy (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), proofread your work before you send it out into the world!  Don’t know how?  A few tips:

1. Don’t proofread your own work. Okay, go ahead. But, after you do, get someone else to proofread it for you. It doesn’t have to be an English scholar. An intelligent set of eyes will do. Why? Because chances are you’ve worked on whatever it is you’re writing for quite some time. You’ve written it, reread it, edited it.  Your eyes aren’t “fresh” any longer when you’ve spent a bit of time with something. So pass it on to someone who’s not seen it before and have them give it the once over.

2. Read upside down.  Seriously. Print it out and turn the page upside down. Then read it. This will force you to focus more carefully on each word rather than reading full sentences. You’re more likely to catch misspellings this way.

3. Don’t rely on spellcheck. Who was the fool that said we don’t need to know how to spell… that’s what spellcheck is for”? Spell check will not catch poor grammar, incorrect usage and haphazard mistakes. For example: your computer doesn’t know the difference between “there” and “their” – please be sure you do.

4. Read aloud. When you read silently, your brain will correct the wrong word without you noticing. But when you read out loud, your better able to hear what you’ve written. And find potential mistakes.

At least the typo on the papal medallion was caught early. I wonder if someone lost his job over that one? Hmmm… What Would Lesus Do?

Got any tips for proofreading like a pro? Please share in the comments!

About Beth M. Wood

Beth M. Wood is a marketing and writing professional. She's been working in the marketing industry since the early 90s, and feeding her shopping habit with copywriting gigs since 2004. On August 1, 2013, she made the jump to full-time freelance writer, marketer, and social media manager. Beth is highly adept at creating and managing integrated marketing programs that get brands noticed. She's also well known for creating and maintaing a strong brand voice across all channels. She is a word geek, a grammar snob and a boot camp junkie. Which means she believes in giving 100% to every project she takes on - large or small. She earned her BA in writing from Webster University and serves as Senior Content Strategist at Scorch.
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