13 Mistakes Readers Always Catch – Part One
Editing your own writing is difficult, if not impossible, which is why having your manuscript professionally edited is so critical. The more time you spend revising your book, the better you know your own words. Your eyes see what you’ve written in your head, not what’s on the page. It is important not to let errors slip through. A second pair of eyes—your editor—can help you tidy up your manuscript.
1. Homophone Mix-Ups
Even the most experienced writer can make the mistake of using the wrong word. This is especially true with homophones, which are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. It’s critical that you use the right words. Using a word incorrectly can pull a reader out of the story. A few common homophones include: your, you’re; there, their, they’re; too, two, to; peek, peak, pique; pore, pour, poor; and prey, pray.
2. Spell-Check Errors
Spell-check can be a blessing and a curse. It is a useful tool, but it can also mislead. Many writers trust it like it’s infallible, but you’d be surprised how many spelling errors an editor will catch in spite of the spell-check function. Word mix-ups are by far the most common misspellings. For example, perhaps you accidentally type the word loins instead of lions. Spell-check would pass over it, but a reader would not.
3. Improper Hyphen Use
Hyphens are used—and must be used—in many ways an average writer isn’t aware of, such as in sentence like, “He worked full- and part-time jobs.” There are countless examples of the trouble improper or absent hyphenation causes. These errors, if not corrected by an editor, are a consistent cause of confusion for a reader.
4. Unnecessary Capitalization
While proper capitalization may not seem like an egregious mistake, unnecessary capitalization throughout a book can make sentences cumbersome to read and affect the overall look of the page. Context is key. It can take years of experience editing different types of books to make capitalization choices that result in professional copy and prose.
5. Punctuation Errors
It’s not just about what you say but how you say it. Punctuation defines your voice—your unique way of speaking to your reader. A good editor polishes your punctuation to reflect your voice. No matter your subject matter or whether your book is scholarly or casual, precise punctuation throughout your book breathes life into your words. Good punctuation can bring emphasis to the right word or words, and used properly, it can create a rhythm to your writing.
6. Grammar Check Errors
Language is complex. You have to read words in context to identify how they function in a particular sentence. That is why grammar check sometimes makes suggestions that are not appropriate or correct. It can be helpful, but it can also cause you to make mistakes if you are too trusting of its suggestions. Grammar check should always be verified by you or your editor.