Bricks and mortar wall with glass blocks

Brick walls and proofreaders

When is a brick wall not a brick wall and how does that prove that I need a proofreader? Let me explain.

Most mornings during school term-time I take the office dog for a short walk first thing in the morning and every time I tend to walk the same route – along a fairly quiet road to a nearby recreation ground. I’ve been doing the same walk for several years always at the same time of day, often seeing the same people along the way. Alongside part of the road there is a low brick retaining wall which I must have walked past hundreds of times.

I don’t know if there was anything different about the way the light was catching the wall a few  mornings ago but suddenly I realised that the brick wall had large, rough lumps of glass randomly spaced in place of several of the bricks. Somehow up to this point I’d registered the wall as only a brick wall, mentally filed it away and not really looked at it again, never noticing that it was, in fact, more interesting than that.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

This case of familiarity not so much breeding contempt as invisibility is the same when you write something, be it an article, a webpage or a book manuscript. As you write and then go back and edit and change words around you become more and more familiar with your work and so you stop noticing the little things that may not be quite right or may not make sense to someone else. Examples might include using abbreviations without explaining the full term being abbreviated or mistakenly using a homophone of the word you actually want such as compliment in place of complement.

A good proofreader can provide a fresh pair of eyes to pick up these errors and suggest corrections. They can also highlight areas where the original meaning has become obscured or the level of language used is inappropriate for the intended reader. Sometimes changing punctuation can change either the meaning or the readability of a sentence.

So rather than banging your head against a brick (and glass) wall, consider the added value that a proofreader can bring to your written materials. Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information about our proofreading services.

(And yes, I did pass this blog post past a different proofreader!)

Brick and glass wall

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