Prooofreading and copy-editting

I’ve recently enrolled on a correspondence course in proofreading and copy-editing, spurred on by Steve’s recent enrolment and the private interest (and bemusement) I’ve always had in the hieroglyphic markings of a proofread, error-strewn document.

I’m midway through the proofreading section, and was busy doing some example exercises, getting frustrated at my own idiocy and, at times, at my sheer lack of detail-focus. (Not spotting, for example that the word caret was missing both an r and an e, instead assuming the author was referring to some feline beast.)

I was annoyed, however, when confronted with the following one-liner to edit.

Moses basket.

That was it. I ummed and arred for quite some time about whether this was a basket belonging to some modern fella called Moses, perhaps one he’d picked up on entering Tesco; or whether it was a reference to the traditional basket in which babies are laid, named after, er, Moses, he of biblical fame and no doubt proportions.

After the arduous consternation, I plumped for the latter, convinced that I’d be right. (After all, if it was intended as a test in whether to add apostrophes to names ending in s, why wouldn’t they use a different name Jesus, for example, as opposed to one after which baskets are named.) On checking the model answers, I was wrong, and somewhat livid. Ho hum. Let’s hope Moses finds what he wants in Tesco.


One Response to “Prooofreading and copy-editting”

  1. Steve on February 19th, 2008 19:45

    I also plumped for, and felt particularly cheated at “Moses basket”, and on checking the answers was ready to unleash a tirade down the phone at Mr Chapterhouse, until I noticed that he’d included a footnote that an apostropheless version is also valid. Lucky escape Mr C…

    I too am finding myself a little humbled on occasion when checking the model answers to discover I’ve missed a sitter. Still, could be worse. Check out:

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