When people edit a hard copy of a document (and, yes, some people still do that), there are certain proofreading marks that have been used throughout time. There is a great resource for these marks that I found online at http://www.marquette.edu/omc/documents/proofreaders.pdf. It includes not only the symbol, but what the corrected language would look like. I’ve added a link to this document on the Files page for printing it out and keeping it at your desk.
A few comments:
- The word “stet” is one that I didn’t know when I started in the legal field and I have had others ask me about. It basically means “I marked that out by accident so please leave it the way it was.” Make sure to look for that before you spend time making edits that are unnecessary.
- Ellipsis should have spaces between the periods according to The Gregg Reference Manual, 11th ed., ¶ 291. The Chicago Manual of Style agrees with Gregg on this one, but the AP Stylebook does not. Microsoft prefers the three periods with no spacing. The most important thing is to choose a style and be consistent. I’ve addressed this issue before at https://proofthatblog.com/2012/11/05/ellipsis-marks-spaced-or-not-that-is-the-question/.
- If the author doesn’t use these proofreading marks on a hard copy of their document, they will edit it online and you will still be expected to proofread it and make the necessary edits. You should do that in redline so the author can see your suggested edits. Just making edits could change the meaning of the sentence (or a whole document), so you need to have the author approve the changes. I briefly addressed this at https://proofthatblog.com/2012/11/18/time-for-a-quickie/.
- It is nice that there is a chart with the “standard” proofreading marks, but some authors develop their own marks. If you really don’t know what they’re trying to do, ASK. Then keep track of those marks so that someone you may have helping you will have a cheat sheet with the authors special marks defined.
Learning the proofreading marks is helpful so you can make the author’s edits appropriately and so that you can use them correctly when you are the author editing your work. What is the most creative proofreading mark you’ve seen?
My cousin sent me this one. At least they were consistent, but it is a “Silver Alert.”
As I was paying to get out of a parking garage last weekend, I noticed this common misspelling. This word really DOES follow the “i before e except after c” rule.
The words lie or lay seem to cause problems for people. How do you know when to use which one? Let’s see if we can clear it up a little bit.
Lay (lay, laid, laying) means “to put” or “to place.” Because it’s a verb (action word) it requires an object to complete the meaning:
- Please lay the groceries on the counter.
- She laid her resignation letter on the boss’s desk.
- He is always laying his schoolbooks on the kitchen table.
Lie (lie, lay, lain, lying) means “to recline, rest, or stay” or “to take a position of rest.” Unlike lay, which requires it, lie cannot take an object.
- She said she was going to lie on the bed to test the mattress.
- The pleading was lying on his desk for him to sign.
A way to remember the difference is that if you can replace the questionable lie or lay with place (or the correct version of it), then you need to use the correct version of lay. If it doesn’t, use the correct version of lie.
- She wanted to (lay or lie) down for a nap. Would you say “She wanted to place down for a nap.”? No! So the proper word would be lie.
- He (laid or lay) the coffee on his secretary’s desk. Is it “He placed the coffee on his secretary’s desk.”? Yes! Then laid is correct.
Another reminder hint might be if you are going to plAce something, then you are going to lAy it, but if you are going to rEst, you are going to liE.
I saw this while looking at my local Facebook Marketplace. I clicked to see what it was and was greeted with this. It should be “metal fruit bowl.” But it’s not, so no thank you!
A friend of my son’s sent this to him from Louisiana. I always think it is a shame when people spend big money on huge banners that have misspellings.
This was on my local news station this weekend since our big news is the record breaking heat wave we have in store this week. I know it will be hot, but I think one “heat” would have conveyed the message just fine.
I found this online. Not only is “fathers” misspelled, but that is really some special!
My cousin sent this one to me. Seems to me that if “intelligence” is part of the name of your event, you would figure out how to spell it correctly. This is particularly important if you are spending the money for such a big banner.
A friend sent this to me. Apparently, this company is not a master of spelling! It is pretty important that businesses at least spell things correctly.