What Are Proofreading Marks? A Beginner’s Guide
If you’re considering a career as a proofreader or editor, you should be aware of proofreading marks. Although most proofreading and editing is now done via a computer in a program like Microsoft Word, you may need to use proofreading marks if a client wants you to work on paper.
In this blog post, we answer the following:
- What is a proofreading mark?
- How to use proofreading marks
- Are proofreading marks still important?
We also provide a free proofreading marks chart that you can use to get familiar with some of the most common marks.
Let’s take a look.
What Is a Proofreading Mark?
Proofreading marks (also known as “proofreader’s marks”) are used by proofreaders and editors when working on a hard-copy (i.e., printed) document. When proofreading on paper, you cannot edit a text directly – all you can do is annotate the document to show the author where they need to make corrections. The proofreader or editor will use proofreading marks to highlight spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors (and sometimes formatting errors too).
How to Use Proofreading Marks
Proofreading marks usually appear in the margins of the document (beside the line containing the error) or inline (on top of the relevant text). Some involve a combination of the two.
Proofreading marks consist of a range of abbreviations and symbols. These marks can vary slightly between editors, but there are standardized systems available, and most use similar markup styles. If you are using proofreading marks, it’s important to either:
- Ask your client whether they have a specific system they want you to use.
- Let your client know what the symbols you use mean.
Are Proofreading Marks Still Important?
To some extent, it is useful to know proofreading marks as a freelance proofreader and editor. You may, for example, need to work with a client who prefers feedback on hard copy or a typeset text.
However, this is much rarer than it used to be. And most of the time, you’ll be working with a computer file rather than printed text, so you can track the changes electronically instead.
Proofreading marks consist of a range of abbreviations and symbols, which an editor will use to mark up a printed document. These marks can vary slightly between editors, but there are standardized systems available, and most use similar markup styles.
Proofreading Marks Chart
In the table below, we’ve listed some of the most common proofreading marks, plus examples of how to use them in a manuscript.
Becoming a Proofreader and Editor
To find out more about how modern freelance proofreading and editing works, why not check out the courses Knowadays has available? We’ll provide all the information you need to proofread documents in Microsoft Word, as well as in other digital formats.