What you find proofreading

What sorts of things do you find when reading the page proofs of a book? We all tempted to read what we expect—and what makes sense to us—so it’s always a challenge to find the error. (My worst—or best—uncorrected typo was a reference to “Strunk and White” as “Stunk and White” on the very last page of a book. I tell people it was a Freudian slip. It went unnoticed until the eagle-eye Tara Rose Crist pointed it out to me after class one day).

The page proofs for Sorry about That were pretty clean but still some things slipped by or got set funny in the conversion from Word doc to typeset pdf. Here’s what I found.

    A couple of block quotes that were
    broken or indented oddly.

    One or two missing spaces like “Courier-Journalwrote,” “expresssincere” and “Iwas”or extraneous spaces (in ellipses, set as .. . or after dashes– which should have no space before the following word.

    A few things miss-set in italics or not. A couple of footnotes run together.

    Some missed misspellings (“Hilary” should read “Hillary,” insert H. between “George W.” and “Bush,” insert a second “s” in “Strasfeld” so it reads “Strassfeld,” delete “p” and close up so that it readsshould be “Thomson-Urrutia treaty”).

    Some needed or unneeded articles and prepositions where the wording was changed at the copyediting stage (insert the word “in” between “trading” and “March” si it reads “insider stock trading in March 2004,” delete “the” and close up so it reads “aired on Sixty Minutes Wednesday”)

    One or two places where we an earlier reference in copyediting and now need to introduce a character (insert “Filmmaker Errol” before “Morris”).

    A couple of incorrect word (replace the first “of” with “and” so it reads “the contexts and purposes”).

    A couple of consistency items (put end quote after Checkers rather than after speech so it reads “Checkers” speech, rather than “Checkers speech,” use a lower case s on senators. set as ä rather than ae in the name in quote–“Weizsaecker” should be “Weizsäcker”)

    A facto: (please change “Duck Hunt” to “Quail Hunt” in the header).

About Ed Battistella

Edwin Battistella’s latest book Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology was released by Oxford University Press in June of 2014.
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