Proofreading and Editing Quotes

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Here are some quotes about proofreading and editing that portray the work involved in proofreading and the relationship of an author and their editors. You will also find some funny proofreading quotes :)

Proofreading Quotes

1. I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.

- Oscar Wilde


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2. I do my best proofreading after I hit send...


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3. It's perfectly okay to write garbage - as long as your edit brilliantly.


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4. The beautiful part about writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time...

Unlike, say, a brain surgeon.


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5. That awkward moment when you spell a common word correctly, but it just looks so wrong you stare at it forever, questioning it's existence.


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6. Proofread you're work if you want to be taken seriously.


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7. Someone needs to develop a social network for people who can't spell grammar and have no concept of grammar.

They could call it Fasebuk.


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8. Proofreading Tip:
Read your paper backward, sentence by sentence, as a final proofreading step. This technique isolates each sentence and makes it easier to spot errors you may have overlooked in previous readings

- Claire B


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9. I work in my study, taking the collections of words that people send me and making small adjustments to them, changing something here and there, checking everything is in order and putting a part of myself into the text by introducing just a little bit of difference.

- Michael Marshall Smith


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10. Connie's other job was proof-editing which she did very badly. Transferring the author's corrections to a clean sheet of proofs was something Connie was unable to do without missing an average of three corrections a page, or transcribing newly inserted material all wrong... she put angry author's letters about the mutilation of their books under the cushion of her chair to deal with later

- Muriel Spark


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11. So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.

- Dr. Seuss


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12. To me, the single biggest mark of the amateur writer is a sense of hurry.

Hurry to finish a manuscript, hurry to edit it, hurry to publish it. It's definitely possible to write a book in a month, leave it unedited, and watch it go off into the world and be declared a masterpiece. It happens every fifty years or so.

For the rest of us, the single greatest ally we have is time. There's no page of prose in existence that its author can't improve after it's been in a drawer for a week. The same is true on the macro level – every time I finish a story or a book, I try to put it away and forget it for as long as I can. When I return, its problems are often so obvious and easy to fix that I'm amazed I ever struggled with them.

Amateur writers are usually desperate to be published, as soon as possible. And I understand that feeling – you just want it to start, your career, your next book, whatever. But I wonder how many self-published novels might have had a chance at getting bought, and finding more readers, if their authors had a bit more patience with them?

- Charles Finch


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13. When an editor works with an author, she cannot help seeing into the medicine cabinet of his soul. All the terrible emotions, the desire for vindications, the paranoia, and the projection are bottled in there, along with all the excesses of envy, desire for revenge, all the hypochondriacal responses, rituals, defenses, and the twin obsessions with sex and money. In other words, the stuff of great books.

- Betsy Learner


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14. A good editor doesn't rewrite words, she rewires synapses.

- S. Kelley Harrell


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15. The first draft is black and white.

Editing gives the story color.

- Emma Hill


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16. Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain. There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred pages are there. Only you don't see them.


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17. When you write a story, you are telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are NOT the story...Your stuff starts out being just for you...but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right, as right as you can...it belongs to anyone who wants to read it, or criticise it.

- Stephen King


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18. Editing fiction is like using your fingers to untangle the hair of someone you love.

- Stephanie Roberts


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19. Let the reader find that he cannot afford to omit any line of your writing because you have omitted every word that he can spare.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


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20. I've reached that final moment of editing a book—the one where the text manifests as a living breathing person and starts slugging me in the face.

- Richard Due


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21. “I don’t even know what a pronoun is.”
“Well, it’s a word that can function by itself as a noun, which refers to something else in the discourse.”
“I don’t get it.”
“You just used one.”
“Did I?”
“Yes, ‘it’ is a pronoun.”
“What is?”
“It.”
“Is it?”


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22. Proofreading Tips:
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive voice where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous

- George Orwell


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23. And then there is that other thing: when you think you are reading proof, whereas you are merely reading your own mind; your statement of the thing is full of holes & vacancies but you don't know it, because you are filling them from your mind as you go along. Sometimes -- but not often enough -- the printer's proof-reader saves you -- & offends you -- with this cold sign in the margin: (?) & you search the passage & find that the insulter is right -- it doesn't say what you thought it did: the gas-fixtures are there, but you didn't light the jets.

- Mark Twain


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24. Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counselling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, 'How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?' and avoid 'How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?

- E.B. White


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25. You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.

- Arthur Plotnik


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26. No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.

- J Russell Lynes


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27. I would write a book, or a short story, at least three times—once to understand it, the second time to improve the prose, and a third to compel it to say what it still must say. Somewhere I put it this way: first drafts are for learning what one's fiction wants him to say. Revision works with that knowledge to enlarge and enhance an idea, to reform it. Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing.

- Bernard Malamud


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28. No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.

- H G Wells


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