Saturday, December 12, 2015

Proofreading is fun-damental

(Following is a comment I wanted to leave for this article by Joseph Friedlander at but wasn't permitted to because, as a new member, I didn't have enough points. That's actually a good policy.)

You're a messy genius, aren't you. Please develop the habit of proofreading. Habitually proofread. Learn to enjoy re-reading your writing; you'll find something to change every time you read through it. You actually typed its's. You know that when its is possessive, it doesn't need an apostrophe. You learned that long ago, you just forgot. When it's is a contraction, it needs an apostrophe before the s. You routinely type its' when you want to indicate the possessive form, but that doesn't exist in English. And its's just happens when you're thinking ahead of what you're typing and not paying attention. Also, you frequently begin paragraphs with a space. An indentation isn't only one space, and when paragraphs are separated by blank lines, they're never indented. Also, the lead sentence is probably the most important sentence in an article, and so it should be fussed over the most. The to do is the problem because thermonuclear power isn't something to do. It's something that is. The sentence should probably begin with "What if generating thermonuclear power..." Or it could be "What if thermonuclear power is so hard to generate in a controlled manner..." And maybe energy instead of power? But that's just quibbling. (BTW, sentence fragments can make for more interesting writing and are not typos in standard English, so don't nobody point out my "And maybe" sentence fragment.) It's good to be a messy genius because that type of thinking can be very innovative. But the messiness shouldn't extend to the writing; it diminishes the writer's credibility as an educated person. Desk yes, writing no.