A quick tip for this week. A fairly common error easily caught by good proofreading is where the same word appears both before and after a nonessential phrase. For example, “We must be sure that, without fail, that we get the timesheets posted by the end of the month.” One thing that I try to do while proofreading is to take out the nonessential phrase to make sure the sentence still makes sense. In the above example “We must be sure that that we get the timesheets posted by the end of the month.” When you check the sentence that way, you will see the second “that.” Reading the sentence without the nonessential phrase will also help to make sure that the phrase being treated as nonessential by being set off by commas actually IS nonessential because the sentence will still make sense without that phrase. When sentences get long (as lawyers sometimes tend to make them), it is even more important to check for the same word on both sides of a nonessential phrase. This simple check will help the sentence make sense and help prove that your proofreading skills make everyone look good.
Quick Tip – Essential Check for Nonessential Phrases
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