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Once an author has spent countless hours writing and rewriting his work, he will often become so familiar with the text that no matter how many times he proofreads his work he will inevitably miss typos, grammatical errors, and other flaws that will only detract from the strength or the beauty of the work. This is where an objective proofreader is vital to the writing process. Unlike the author, who can visualize every line of the work, the proofreader has no familiarity or preconceptions of the work, so it is much easier to detect minor as well as major flaws.

Perhaps the most important quality in a good proofreader is that the person demonstrates great attention to detail and truly wants all writing to be clear, consistent, and error-free. A good proofreader is that person who notices every typo or misspelling in the ticker on the bottom of the news channel. A good proofreader has an aversion to non-words such as "irregardless" and incorrect phrases such as ďI could care less.Ē A good proofreader is also the type of person who, like a dog that canít stop scratching at its fleas, actually enjoys finding mistakes in a document and will read through the document over and over again until she is convinced that there are no more mistakes to be found. Furthermore, a good proofreader will not mess with the authorís style, will not rewrite the work, and will defer to the authorís own preference when issues of clarity do come up. After all, although the proofreader is vital, it is the author who signs her name to the work, so it is the author who must be satisfied with the writing in the end.

Finally, a good proofreader knows the standard professional proofreading marks and is familiar with at least one style guide, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, Fifteenth Edition.

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