Thursday, April 8, 2010

Read It Out Loud

Flossing is one of those tasks we all need to do, but most of us fail to do. It is an irrational decision on our part because the benefits (a mouth full of healthy teeth) far outweigh the costs (a little bit of time and maybe some bloody gums). The two main reasons I fail to floss come down to these:

1. I'm convinced I brushed well enough to clean my teeth sufficiently.

2. I'm lazy.

Consider what the late Mitch Hedberg said:
People who smoke cigarettes, they say "You don't know how hard it is to quit smoking." Yes I do. It's as hard as it is it to start flossiling.
Most likely, the majority of people who read the preceding quote will not notice the typos I have inserted. Sure, it's probably easier to noticed that mispelling of the last word, but the extra it? Not likely.

Proofreading is much like flossing (not at all like flossiling, though). It is something we must do, but irrationally decide not to do.

The only way to proofread, and proofread well, is to simply get in a habit of doing it! I have reached a point now where I feel compelled to proofread my text messages, my emails, and my bathroom stall graffiti. Once I started re-reading the small stuff, re-reading the big stuff became easy, if not compulsory!

If we ever want to have our written words demand respect (or, likewise, demand good grades), we MUST proofread. And if we're going to proofread we should do so OUT LOUD!

The above Hedberg quote, even on a second read, proves a tricky proofreading task. If we read it in our head only, we are likely to entirely miss the extra it, though we may notice the misspelling; yet few readers would not notice the extra it when reading aloud!

Unfortunately, reading out loud takes a little bit longer than reading in our head. However, I promise it’s generally worth it because reading aloud is equal to reading internally twice yet takes less time. Therefore:

Proofread! Proofread out loud!

You will be surprised at the changes you need to make.

Bradley Woodrum also writes for Homebody and Woman and Cubs Stats and enjoys wistfully looking at pictures of free cats on Craigslist.


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