RedPen Editing

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Typo is short for typographical error. On your page or screen, you have two different typo opportunities: the words, and the rest.

Checking your words

The spellchecker option within word-processing can give the impression that you have no mistakes in your words. If there are no red squiggly lines, then all is well? No!

  • It’s easy to hit the wrong key and type ‘worm’ instead of ‘worn’ or ‘test’ instead of ‘text’.
  • Typing at speed, it’s easy to hit the keys in the wrong order, resulting in, for example, ‘form’ instead of ‘from’.

You get the idea! The wrong word can still pass muster for the spellchecker.

Hand with Red Pen Proofreading Text Closeup

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Even if every word is correctly spelt, you might have missed out a word altogether. You might have used capital letters incorrectly!

The only way to find all these typos is to proofread (aloud preferably) what you have written. Or ask someone else to do this for you.

And what’s ‘the rest’? The rest is your punctuation and spacing.

What is punctuation?

Punctuation is any symbol used to ‘punctuate’ your words: correctly used, punctuation makes the sense clearer to your reader.

  • Within a sentence: commas, colons, semi-colons, dashes, brackets
  • To end a sentence: full stops, exclamation marks, question marks
  • For dialogue: quote marks (single or double)
  • For possession or contraction: the dreaded apostrophe

What are the ‘rules’ for spacing?

  • There should only be one space between each pair of consecutive words within a sentence.
  • There should be no spaces before a punctuation mark – except before a spaced dash!
  • There should only be one space after a punctuation mark.

BEWARE: the act of editing can introduce more typos. Every time you make changes to your writing, proofread it again.

Acknowledgment: © Sue Harper | Hand with Red Pen Proofreading Text Closeup