Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Proofreading, part 9

All this place-finding and looking up and down takes time. Only a couple of seconds each time, but that adds up fast, as you can probably imagine.

Holding a string of letters in your mind isn't efficient either, partly just because one can forget things, and partly because of anticipation; when you're reading the text as words, you're much too liable to remember what you think ought to be there rather than what actually is there. That's how most of these mistakes get in there in the first place.

You're also liable to confuse phononyms, liable to skip silent letters, liable to attempt to remember too much and thus forget parts unawares.

And all this is only answering “Is the letter there?". The question of “Is it kosher?" requires more mental processing, as we saw earlier - is it touching another letter, does it have all the parts it needs, does it have the right decoration. The above list doesn't leave much brain left over for processing these questions.

More about how we deal with that later. First, we'll see some other cases where such mental processing is required.

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