Fun fact: today is Punctuation Day! The perfect day to value the work of proofreaders who hunt down every mistaken comma and every missing full stop to give the Ringwood books the final polish. Read about the experiences Ida, our Managing Director, has encountered as a proofreader:
What is the most common mistake?
Well, in our day and age most writing programmes will detect a spelling mistake as soon as you type it, and so the author will have corrected it before sending it to us. I suppose the most common mistakes are punctuation or overusing a certain word (“however” is a favourite for many!). Especially semi-colons can get people in trouble, and sometimes I have to look the rules up myself. Languages are funny sizes, I have yet to meet anyone who can memorise all the rules at once.
What would you advise to watch out for when one is writing a text?
The best advice I can give for writing a text is to give it a break and then return to it. Once your manuscript is finished leave it for a week or two, and then re-read it once before you send it anywhere (this advice also applies to academia). When you stare at a document for too long, you start becoming blind to its faults – this process helps weed out the most obvious errors.
Are you doing mistakes yourself?
Absolutely! That’s why I revise constantly and check rules when uncertain. Fortunately, I’m a bit of a nitpicker when it comes to proofreading.
Is there a punctuation or grammar rule you would like to delete if you could?
Not in English, no, I think the grammar is already quite relaxed here, compared to other languages. I would like to have a strong word with the Danish commas or the German case system, though.