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This child will grow up to be an editor. He has printed out his letter to Santa and is tricking his mind's eye by imagining the neighborhood bully wrote it. That way he will see every error and correct it before hitting send. Santa appreciates error-free letters.

This child will grow up to be an editor. He has printed out his letter to Santa and is tricking his mind’s eye by imagining the neighborhood bully wrote it. That way he will see every error and correct it before hitting send. Santa appreciates error-free letters.

‘Tis the season of giving and this year we’re bypassing pricey presents to gift you something so much better: invaluable editing hacks! That’s right, our best tricks for producing error-free text.

If you’re wondering how we can give this treasure away, oh pshaw. We’re just big-hearted editor types who sympathize with anyone who has labored to perfect the same text for hours, hit send, then found a typo when the text went public in print or on the web.

Most editing errors occur because you look at the text for so long you stop seeing clearly. The technical term for this condition is “word blindness.” It means your eyes have lost their ability to detect errors because the brain thinks it knows every word in the piece.

Our holiday gift hacks fake out your brain so it can see familiar text with fresh eyes and detect errors. Here goes:

Editor Do’s and Don’ts

DO read what you’ve written out loud. This makes you slow down, which helps you catch those devilish typos.

DON’T proofread on a computer screen. Print out the text, proof it on paper and fewer errors will get by.

DO bump up the font size. Extra-large text makes boo-boos harder to miss.

DON’T always read from beginning to end. Reading from last word to first will absolutely force you to focus.

DO pretend the copy was written by someone you don’t like. Use your red pen as a weapon. You’ll be amazed how sharp-eyed you’ll become!

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