A large portion of the work that Dana’s Creative Services does involves editing other people’s writing. Through editing work for various clients over the years, Dana has noticed many common mistakes that writers at all organizations make. Whether it’s a book project or a marketing brochure, the same mistakes occur.
A quick proofread of the initial draft is all most clients need to correct these common errors (and possibly reduce editing time and cost). So to help clients improve their first drafts, Dana is sharing the three most common writing mistakes and how to easily look for and correct those errors:
Spelling errors. This may sound like the most obvious mistake—even too obvious—but Dana sees spelling errors all the time. Run a spell check of your document before submitting it to an editor. Because spell check isn’t 100 percent accurate, Dana also recommends quickly scanning the document to catch any glaring spelling errors that spell check doesn’t catch.
Too many spaces. Most editorial styles usually require one or two spaces between sentences, but Dana often sees two or more spaces between sentences or even extra spaces at the beginning of paragraphs. These extra spaces can easily creep in, but it’s simple to remove them, too. Just do a Find and Replace in a Microsoft Word document. In the Edit menu, select Find, then Advanced Find and Replace. Insert spaces into the Find field, and then put the correct number of spaces in the Replace field.
Comma placement. AP style omits the comma before the word “and,” while Chicago Manual of Style retains the comma before “and” in a series. If you know your organization’s style, you can do a Find and Replace for , and if you want to remove it, or a space and the word and ( and) to find instances where it may need to be added.
Of course, any editor (including Dana’s Creative Services) is happy to correct these mistakes for you—and also help you perfect your copy to best speak to your target audience.
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About Dana’s Creative Services
Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.