Yesterday’s tip contained a sentence fragment from an early draft of the tip that never was deleted.  It is easy to overlook typographical errors, errors in fact, spelling and grammar errors, etc.

Always take one last look to proofread something, preferably some time after you originally wrote it.

My personal ranking for errors (starting with the ones that I think are the worst):

  1. factual errors
  2. spelling errors
  3. typographical errors
  4. grammar errors

Actually two and three are pretty close. And while all errors I make frustrate me, errors in fact bother me more than grammar errors.

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6 Responses

  1. I was given a full page of family history from one family. The problem was that there were quite a few errors in it. I know the family & had obituaries and the pamphlets from funerals/memorials from Iattended them. Would I put corrections on a separate piece of paper? Or do I still need more proof that they r actually errors.?

    • How much “proof” you need depends on what’s wrong and how you know it to be wrong. If it’s information for which you had first hand knowledge–children’s names, names of in-laws, residences, etc. that’s one thing. If it’s names of parents, place of birth, or things you might not know first hand, then you’d need something besides your memory.

  2. Obituaries and pamplets from funerals can be wrong, , too. I only trust them for the death date. Birth, names etc are the product of whoever told the funeral director. Obits are a hint…..but always try to prove them. Older family notes almost always contain errors. Our previous generations did not have access to the records we do today…of course birth records can be delayed if the childcwas born at hone and the birth reported when the family or doc got around to it. My grandfather went by 3 different birthdates throughout his life. All within a few days of each other, but one a year different. The birth record for an unnamed child of his parents I think may be him, is the ‘official’ date I use.

    • Obituaries sometimes do contain incorrect death dates. My father’s obituary reversed the dates of his death and cremation– horrifying at the time, but eventually a source of family amusement.

  3. I’ve always encouraged my students to read their work aloud to check for most errors – not necessarily the factual ones, but your last 3. Sounds strange, I know, but it does help. Reading aloud makes the brain process the words more carefully than reading it to yourself, because your brain knew what you meant to say even if your fingers never got it on paper or typed.

  4. It helps to have someone else read what you write. They may catch spelling/grammatical errors as well as factual errors.

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