This week, I learned about how to proofread manuscripts to make sure they have been properly transferred from the original documents to the computer for publication. I learned how different it is to read out loud for fun and to read out loud for proofing. It’s a struggle to teach your brain to change how it reads, like learning a new language, but it turned out to be a fun experience too. My partner and I laughed a lot, stumbled over simple possessives and compound sentences, and teased ourselves more than we teased each other.
Sentences like “I didn’t need all of these pens, pencils, quills, and hats.” were fun because of all the commas. You had to read it like “Capital I didn apostrophe t need all of these pens comma pencils comma quills comma and hats period.”All of the commas made us laugh, because it sounds almost like a joke or as if it should be marked wrong when you have to read it out loud like that.
I thought proof reading would be easier in practice than what I learned this week. I knew it would be work, but I didn’t expect to have to enunciate all the punctuation and capitalization. I expected it to be more along the lines of what I’m learning copy editing is, reading over for simple mistakes. In our proofreading, we couldn’t just assume all the proper nouns would be capitalized or that contractions had their apostrophes.
A poetry piece I helped proof drove me crazy. It didn’t have any punctuation at all, but it did have lists and phrases and sections that would require commas in a fiction or non-fiction piece. Luckily for the author, poems can get away with a lot of things fiction pieces cannot.
It was a fun end to the week, proofreading together. It was even fun reading the Chicago Manual of Style to search through three pages of comma rules only to not find exactly what you needed. If this is most of the internship, I will not be unhappy.