Why is it that typos are so obvious once the print job is complete? We don’t know but we have seen rather a lot of embarrassing or just plain daft printing blunders in our time at Solopress. As the author we do appreciate that mistakes can be particularly difficult to spot so here are a few simple tricks of the trade to ensure all errors are quickly identified and corrected.
To begin, use the computer spell checker to eliminate simple typos. Remember to check that the computer has the correct language selected i.e. UK vs. US. Computers do not always get it right though so having a printed dictionary to hand is also useful.
Each subsequent reading of the document should be focused on a different aspect. First, read the document to see if it is complete with all the information needed, this could mean dates and times for an event on a flyer or thorough explanations of services in a brochure, either way make sure it is all there.
Next, read the document to see how it sounds. Listen to the sound of the voice in your head or read out loud to see if the sentences make sense as a whole. The tone and flow of a document are important to ensure the audience remains interested and receives the right impression of the company or promotion.
A third reading can be used to identify other spelling and punctuation mistakes. Before this reading is undertaken it can be helpful to read something else in between to enable the mind to return fresher. A top tip is to read the document backwards when checking for spelling mistakes.
Finally, check all content outside of the main body of the text or that which is formatted differently such as headers and footers. Often this ‘outside’ text is additional information such as telephone numbers, dates, company names etc. and these items can be easily overlooked.
At least one of these readings should be done in hard copy as mistakes can be missed on a computer screen.
Here is a list of the most common typographical mistakes:
- Homophones – these are words which sound the same but have a different spelling and meaning. Right and write, deer and dear.
- Leaving out silent letters – Febuary and February, lisen and listen.
- Adding an Ending – mistakes can be made when changing the tense of a word by adding an ending. Hopeing and Hoping or Submiting and Submitting.
- Missing words – most commonly with smaller words, to, it, is, of, a, etc. Or sometimes these words are used incorrectly in exchange for one another.
- Ordering of letters – the most common of typos is for letters to be the wrong way round.
- Punctuation – apostrophes are the most common punctuation mistake. They should be used in two ways, for the possessive e.g. Peter’s ball, and to replace missing letters e.g. it’s or don’t.
- Amalgamating words – some words should be separate ‘a lot’ rather than ‘alot’
- Verbs – adapt the verb to a singular or plural subject for example ‘I was’ and ‘we were’ not ‘I were’ and ‘we was’.
- Should of/should have – the latter is correct.
Once the document has become free of all its mistakes and is as correct as it can possibly be it is ready to go to print. All you need now is a high quality printing company to match your high quality proofreading…