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The Importance Of Proper Punctuation In Book Editing, And Proofreading

Author: Nina Browne

Why is proper punctuation necessary? Well, if you have passed signs on the road saying “Smoking Pets and Bicycles are not allowed in this park” or “The best service mean’s XYZ company,” you know how important proofreading your documents is! So, if you intend to make a future career out of book editing and proofreading, you need to know proper punctuation.

A misplaced comma in a legal document caused one company a loss of over three million dollars. That case did not even involve the numerous spelling mistakes that make their way into our documents. So what will your reaction be when you are confronted with a sentence like this, “I asked my English teacher, “Can you tell me more about the right placement of comas, in a sentence?”” QED.

Let’s talk about homophones. “Right” and “write” are definitely not interchangeable, and sew do make sure that you make the write choice when righting your document! Also, do make sure that you do not use “sew” for “sow” or “so.” The meaning of any sentence will be changed if you use homonyms or homophones incorrectly. Just imagine a melodramatic heroine shrieking in a tragic manner, “I cannot bare it,” instead of “I cannot bear it.” So naturally, you need to know about homonyms and homophones when editing or proofreading any document.

You should also look at the usage of apostrophes and contractions while Book Editing and proofreading. There is a great difference between “its” and “it’s.” So, if you read something which says, “The dog wagged it’s tail happily,” you need to do a double take and double check! In the same way, plenty of people make mistakes between “they’re,” “their” and “there.”

You might be surprised to discover that many professional proofreaders read a sentence backwards. According to them, it makes it easier for them to spot grammatical mistakes. That is because the brain is not reading the document in a set pattern. So you are reading what has been written on the document, word by word, instead of what “looks” apparent to your brain on paper. You might want to enlarge the font size of the text, so that the mistakes jump out off (or off ?!) the screen. You might want to proofread documents a couple of hours after you have completed the writing. This means that you will look at the document from a fresh perspective. As a result, you may find it easier to edit it properly. You will add and subtract information from the document as required. If you are in a hurry to get the document’s (saw the difference between the apostrophe placement? That mistake was deliberate, by the way!) proofread, use the services of a professional company with experienced proofreaders and book editors.

Double checking is always a good idea. Even though you may have proofread or edited your document, it is always a good option to get somebody else to proofread your document once more. There is absolutely no tool available on the Internet that will take the place of experienced book editors and proofreaders. So make sure that your documents are edited by people who have many years of experience behind them in this field!

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About the Author

Nina Browne is a professional writer for For more tips and information on fast, high quality proofreading services visit

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