A proofreader’s goal is to ensure that the material he or she is reviewing is 100% correct. At a basic level, proofreading involves catching typos, correcting spelling errors, and fixing incorrect grammar and punctuation. This course will provide you with the basics of proofreading, along with checklists, print/online reference lists and other useful resources.
Proofreading also often includes reviewing numbers for accuracy, checking dates and figures, looking for inconsistencies, ensuring audience-appropriate spelling and terminology, checking against a house style (or creating a new project style sheet) and fact-checking. These additional tasks are touched upon in this class, but are covered in more detail in Advanced Proofreading (look for this class in January!). Note: Although some light editing is occasionally required when proofreading, both of these courses focus only on proofreading; please check the EFA catalogue for editing courses.
Participants complete proofreading exercises each week, with detailed answer keys provided the following week. Students mark their own work, and additional feedback from the instructor is available on request.
To take Proofreading: The Basics, you will need access to:
- Adobe Acrobat Standard or Pro, or the free Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Microsoft Word, or equivalent
- Access to at least one print or online dictionary, e.g., Merriam-Webster (free at m-w.com)
You should be comfortable with:
- File creation and management in Word (especially Tracked Changes)
- Opening and printing out Acrobat files
- The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn
- McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook by Laura Anderson
- The McGraw-Hill Desk Reference for Editors, Writers, and Proofreaders by K.D. Sullivan and Merilee Eggleston
- Mark My Words: Instruction and Practice in Proofreading by Peggy Smith
Instructor’s note: You don’t need to read all of these books (and some of them could be challenging to find). However, they’re all excellent resources, especially if proofreading is your main career focus.
Instructor Sharon McInnis, the owner of ProofingQueen, has been providing proofreading and fact-checking services to a wide range of clients for over 18 years. Recognized by clients as expert and tenacious proofreaders, Sharon and her colleagues have reviewed thousands of files— from three-word billboards, two-page flyers, and single-page ads to 40-page consumer magazines, 100-page annual reports, and 5,000-page environmental studies.
“Thoroughness of content was excellent; worth the price of the course all by itself in my opinion. Clarity was very good.”
“Content exceeded my expectations. The range of subjects from basic definitions to examples of how the instructor interacts with her clients in real life were invaluable.”