How to Avoid Comma Errors

6 Nov

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of talking to a person who talks a mile a minute without pausing taking a break or allowing you to interject and they can be very very hard to understand. On the other hand, you’ve probably also noticed, that some people, speak so slowly, and with so many pauses, […] read more »

When to Use Humor in Business Writing: How About Never?

28 May

Never trade boring for discomfort. It’s such an easy trap, a mistake so often made with the best of intentions. Business writing can be so very dull, so routine. You know your coworkers are good people, well-educated and savvy. Or at least you know they appreciate a good joke. Your story about your vacation accident […] read more »

How Best to Use Editing Services

28 May

I’ve heard people say: “I’ve got to clean the house today; the maid is coming tomorrow,” and I’ve wondered: Clean before the maid comes? Why? Thinking it through, though, it makes sense. Only the people who live in a house are going to know where everything goes and all that. Doing a good job tidying […] read more »

How to Avoid Wordiness

21 May

Cut Adjectives and Adverbs This is something Ernest Hemingway became famous for. While working as a reporter, he learned to cut unnecessary words and get to the point of a story as fast as possible, claiming that all those extra adjectives/adverbs could be filled in by readers’ imaginations and the context of the story. Take […] read more »

Do I Need a Literary Agent?

14 May

Almost everyone has heard of literary agents, either as the wonderful people who sell your book for zillions of dollars and make you the next blockbuster hit, or as the jerks who won’t give you the time of day and keep you from becoming the next blockbuster hit. In reality, agents are businesspeople and creative […] read more »

Writing a Cover Letter to Get a Job

12 Mar

Let’s start with the hard truth: No one ever got a job on the strength of a cover letter. That’s a bold claim, but I can support it from years of engagement with Corporate America in a variety of roles. I’ve moved from freelancing to academia to the private sector, and I’ve worked in many […] read more »

Proofreading Services Rates

13 Jan

As the president and founder of ProofreadingPal, I’m going to try to offer you some simple advice on the various questions you’ll likely encounter, along with advice on the proofreading rates you should expect to pay. read more »

Fast Proofreading Services for Rush Projects

Fast Proofreading Service
21 Dec

ProofreadingPal offers fast proofreading services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our 3-, 6-, and 10-hour turnaround speeds make us one of the fastest proofreading services available. read more »

“On Em dash, on En dash, on Prancer, on Vixen”

en dashes and em dashes
23 Dec

In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d have a Yuletide-themed article this month. One of Santa’s eight tiny reindeers is, of course, Dasher. So let’s talk a little about dashes. (Okay, that’s the lamest Christmas connection ever. Well, that’s all I’ve got. Apologies to all of you, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.) Having a client who is adept at em and en dashes is indeed rare. Usually we see the plain ol’ regular hyphen being used where an em or en dash would be more appropriate. Or we often see random hyphens in varying multiples scattered throughout a paper like sprinkles on a Christmas cookie (okay, I’m still trying, but I’ll quit). read more »

Read Before You Write (Part II)

23 Dec

But no, I get it, really. You are busy. Work piles up. Dinner won’t cook itself. You’re knitting an umpteenth Doctor Who scarf for your bestest friend. Errands need to be run, the dog needs to be walked, the kids need to be driven to and from soccer practice or violin recital, and the spouse has been making noises about wanting to feel like a human being worthy of attention. Life happens. You can’t always commit to a book or three. But there are other ways to get your literary fix: we have the technology. Welcome to the twenty-first century, in which a book doesn’t have to be a codex to be enjoyed. read more »

Read Before You Write (Part I)

22 Dec

Most of us have heard the cautionary phrase, “Look before you leap.”  It’s sound advice, and alliterative, to boot.  Here’s another one for ye: “Read before you write.” I’m not being funny here.  I mean it. Every now and then, people hear of rising stars in the literary world by clicking through the entertainment section […] read more »

Knowing What to Look For

14 Dec

Effective writing is not so esoteric as to be beyond description. There are many elements we can specify. Let’s look first at structure. read more »

Livestock Judging and You

14 Dec

Most skills are learned largely through imitation. It’s common sense that if we want to improve as an ice skater, we find someone who is better than we are and watch them skate. The more skilled we are at observing, the more effective we’ll be at adapting what we see another skater do into what we can do. We have to know, as precisely as possible, what to look for, and then we have to practice what we’ve observed. The same concept works with writing. read more »

How Writers and Proofreaders Can Live in Peace

10 Dec

When Alexander Pope (1688-1744) warned, “A little learning is a dangerous thing,” he was, among other things, explaining why editors and proofreaders – even us here at ProofreadingPal – so often find ourselves in antagonistic relationships with writers. read more »

The Unexamined Page

Proofreading Carefully
22 Nov

As a proofreader at ProofreadingPal, I see a lot of otherwise well-written documents with some gaping flaws caused by carelessness. I understand. And I like to make suggestions in addition to corrections – changing a word may fix a document, but changing a way to think about how to write is rewarding. read more »

Writers vs. Editors – Cage Fight for the Centuries

17 Oct

Some proofreaders and editors like to think there are rules, rigid rules, rules that transcend life itself. But no matter how earnest and well-meaning these folks are, they remain earnestly wrong. There is only one rule for writers, and author Mildred I. Reid phrased it as well as anyone: “The only rule for effective writing is: Does it work?” read more »