Ok, it’s not going to be War & Peace – you just want to get your blog out there! No reason why you shouldn’t proofread your own work before it goes live. But a word or two of advice:
The colon (nothing to do with the bowels) is a useful little creature: 🙄 it introduces an idea or a list.
In my previous sentence, I could have got away with just using a full stop after the word “creature” (or period, for American readers – again, no reference to biology intended here!)
But that seems boring and unimaginative to me: the colon keeps me interested, it tells me there’s more to come.
I have a confession to make, I’m about to get found out.
The painting that is hanging in my dining room, was not, in fact, painted by me. The one which is hanging crookedly in the lounge is the one I painted.
It’s out! I’m owning up to something which I have kept secret all these years.
When you’ve drafted an article, leave it for a couple of hours, or overnight before you continue or decide to publish it.
When you open up that draft article again, you will have “slept on it”; the images in your mind will have developed, like photographs, the words you wrote about them will have dried on the paper, the file you created will have been safely saved.
If you have just a short article to submit, you may not need a proofreader: why not do it yourself?
Even if you’re not altogether confident with your spelling and punctuation skills, there are some tricks you can utilise that will help avoid the embarrassment of seeing a typo in print, free of charge. These for example:
Have you ever started to write something, maybe got interrupted and didn’t finish it?
Did you go back to your draft, re-read it and think: What on earth was I going on about?
Chances are, you didn’t add any commas or full stops as your words flowed onto the line; you didn’t get to review it before that interruption.
Here’s a tale that illustrates how costly a missing comma can be:
My last post sparked quite a bit of a stir! The resounding answer to the question I posed: “Is text-speak killing my beloved apostrophe?” was a clear “NO”.
My insatiable appetite for proofreading and catching errors is shared by some like-minded contributors on LinkedIn (thank you all). Some pointed out that using an apostrophe + S to denote plurals can be a matter of which style guide you prefer to follow, or indeed whether you are using UK or US English.
American examples that were cited included “recite your ABC’s”, “dot your I’s and cross your T’s” which I suppose I can grudgingly understand, and can also be used in dates like “the 1980’s”, although I still don’t see the necessity for that.
But the one that finally convinced me personally that you should NOT use the apostrophe to indicate a plural was this one:
Some will guess what’s coming, others won’t even recognise it, so neglected and abused has it become in the last decade.
I feel so hugely defensive and have a fierce need to protect it – there is actually a Protection Society for it with thousands of members!
It’s only tiny, but such a clever little thing. Sometimes it sits toward the back, and sometimes right at the back, as it doesn’t demand too much attention, and makes no noise at all. In fact it’s so quiet that people have started to ignore it completely – with devastating consequences!
Mostly it helps us out with two important things: it can help us with ownership, or possession. The other thing is it reminds us that something’s missing.
What the blazes am I talking about? A yapping chihuahua? A 21st century memory chip?