Copy Edit and Proofread: Your Business Depends on It

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As business owners it’s important to have copy that is readable, clear and grammatically correct. Now I’m no expert, but for the most part I got all A’s and B’s in my AP English classes (smile) and worked as a proofreader many years ago. I have always enjoyed reading and writing, so way back when, I decided to get my master’s in professional writing. After reading books and documents, I’d find myself noticing things only a critically trained eye would. Years of editing fellow classmates and my student’s assignments kept my red pen busy. When I worked as a proofreader for a publishing company, the process forced me to become a better writer.

Social media has made it easy for us to post things but what we post can come back to bite us, especially when we are trying to convey a proper message to our followers. It is amazing how many people still use words incorrectly and then when it’s brought to their attention they say things like, “Oh I don’t care, it’s just social media.” Or, “So what, I was just typing to fast.” (We’ve all been there but not on every post sis.)

My OMG moment came when a former superintendent in a district I worked for, presented a Power Point packed with grammatical errors and misspelled words to the entire school district. My entire row scoffed as he tried to talk through the mistakes. I couldn’t listen to anything he had to say.

Making sure your copy flows and presents well is key for you and your brand or business. Here’s a few tips and some ways to help you with managing your content:

By definition:

Copy Editing: 

  1. to edit (a manuscript, document, text, etc.) for publication, especially for punctuation, spelling,grammatical structure, style, etc.

Proofreading:   

  1. to read (printers’ proofs, copy, etc.) in order to detect and mark errors to be corrected.

Copywriter: 

  1. a writer of copyespecially for advertisements or publicity releases

Copyright: 

  1. the exclusive right to make copieslicense, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work,whether printed, audio, video, etc.:

A few notes about grammar and word usage:

It isn’t uncommon for words to be misused, but if your copy is filled with examples of incorrect word usage and grammatical errors, you might want to hire a copy editor. Here’s a few of the most commonly misused words:

There: 

  1. in or at that place (opposed to here):She is there now.
  2. at that point in an action, speech, etc.:He stopped there for applause.
  3. in that matter, particular, or respect:His anger was justified there.

Their: 

  1. form of the possessive case of they used as an attributive adjective, before a noun:

They’re: 

  1. contraction of they are.

Your:

  1. (a form of the possessive case of you used as an attributive adjective):Your jacket is in that closet. I like your idea.Compare yours.
  2. one’s (used to indicate that one belonging to oneself or to any person):The consulate is your best source of information. As you go down the hill, the library is on your left.
  3. (used informally to indicate all members of a group, occupation, etc., or things of a particular type):Take your factory worker, for instance. Your power brakes don’t need that much servicing.

You’re: 

  1. contraction of you are:You’re certain that’s right?

Tips for Good Copy:

  1. Use clear, concise, well-written sentences.
  2. Get to the point.
  3. Always read or (have a proofreader read) your copy before posting to ensure readability.
  4. Knowing the differences between commonly misused words will alleviate common grammar mistakes. View the list of the 20 commonly misused words here.
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