Some weeks go by and my clients all disappoint me by being so clever; I don’t feel needed.
This week was better than usual and I was able to prove my worth. See my top 10 proofreading catches below.
- ‘Pubic’ instead of ‘public’. (Seriously, I suspected that this was one of those gaffes that rarely occur in real life…and then I found an example twice in a week. One of the documents was going directly to a senior government minister, and the error was in the opening paragraph. Lucky.)
- ‘Peak’ instead of ‘pique’. From someone who’s more aurally inclined.
- ‘Optimises’ when we needed ‘epitomises’. Not common but this isn’t the first time I’ve picked up this one this month.
- ‘Predominately’ rather than ‘predominantly’. This one is so common, I do a search for it before I start reading through the entire copy deck.
- ‘Per say’ instead of ‘per se’. Not used that often so it’s understandable that someone who’s only ever heard the phrase wouldn’t know how to spell it. I have the benefit of four years of Latin so I shouldn’t be too smug.
- ‘Brought’ instead of ‘bought’.
- ‘Conjour’ instead of ‘conjure’. No idea…really. Maybe they’re writing with a French accent.
- ‘Tenants’ instead of ‘tenets’. This may have been a spell-checking error so that client gets the benefit of the doubt.
- ‘Compliment’ rather than ‘complement’. This is one of those words that pays my mortgage. Very few writers, even when they know the difference, get this one right. I love finding this error…it’s like an old friend.
- ‘Premise’ instead of ‘premises’ “…because it’s only one business”. That client received a photocopy of the dictionary definition (and she still insisted on keeping ‘premise’). It’s sad because I can’t put that piece of writing and proofreading in my portfolio.
Well, that’s all for this week. Do you have any words that you trip over regularly?
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If you work from home (as I do as a copywriter, editor and proofreader in Sydney), it’s hard sometimes to connect with the outside world. Isolation can lead to a fit of the blues. You feel your life is so small and you’re an insignificant player. However, I’ve discovered that if I follow my ‘rules’, I’m much happier and more optimistic.
- Do a good deed every day.
This doesn’t have to be a big thing. It’s about looking for the difference you can make in someone’s life that day – something that only you could have done. It’s about being aware of the opportunity to help – so you need to look out, not in. When you notice that opportunity, don’t miss it; it may be the only chance you have all day.
- Love everyone.
You don’t have to like everyone all the time but love them for who they are, even if they annoy you. Never wish anyone ill.
- Be creative.
Arrange flowers, paint, build the best swimming pool in your neighbourhood, help your child with a project, take up pottery or knitting or sewing or singing.
- Look for one ‘magic moment’ every day.
Notice the sunrise or the sunset, notice the clouds, notice the musician busking at the station. See how beautiful the world is and appreciate that you’re in it.
- Have a goal.
We all need something to aim for – a degree, a home, to complete an artwork, to improve our relationships. Work towards something, then you always know where you’re headed and feel a sense of purpose.
- Love your job.
Someone wiser than I said: “If you do something you love doing, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Do your work with joy.
Try them out and let me know how you go!
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Following on from the last post re buzzwords, here is another relevant article from Time magazine. A good copywriter or proofreader, of course, can help you avoid those hackneyed words and phrases and ensure that your LinkedIn page is unique. Note, too, that although the body of the piece is about buzzwords, the subtext is just as much about ‘big data’, now being culled from our online activities with Twitter, Facebook…and LinkedIn. If you’re interested, read about how hedge fund, Derwent Capital, beat the market through gauging the Twitterverse sentiment or The New Yorker article about the exponential law of privacy loss.
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