Monday, April 23, 2007

Paper and Ink

We learned in class that it is much more accurate to edit on paper than to edit on screen. When I check my own writing, however, I often find myself hesitating to print out a document just for proofreading. I’m always tempted to do my proofreading on screen to save paper and ink. I just hate finding one misspell on a page and having to reprint the whole page; I cannot help but be self-conscious about wasting paper and ink for careless mistakes.

Is it absolutely necessary to print out a document for accurate proofreading? Is it possible to master the art of screen proofreading to eliminate or minimize the need for proofreading on paper, thereby saving the office supplies? Is it ever possible to print out a flawless document through proofreading on screen alone?

1 comment:

Pat said...

I don't think it's possible to proofread onscreen, but I may be wrong. The hand-eye way of examining something is tens of thousands of years older than the computer-eye way. We would have to wait a long time, it seems to me, for the latter to become as reliable.

Paper and ink are valuable, and we should conserve them. I'd suggest printing on scratch paper, editing by hand, and reprinting on scratch paper. If this isn't feasible, I would say that you can try to proofread onscreen.

Actually, I did try this recently with a grant application. After it was sent off to the granting agency, I proofread the hard copy. I learned, yet again, that for me there is no substitute for proofreading the thing itself. I can proof not only for things like typographical, punctuation, and spelling errors but also for errors in consistency, fact, logic, and formatting.