Sunday, April 22, 2007

Editing is You’re...oops...Your Friend

I know the difference between your and you’re. They’re easy to remember and easy to use, but it still doesn’t stop me from throwing down the wrong one in a sentence and not seeing the error of my fingers.

The first one means something belongs to you; it’s yours.
The second is a contraction of you and are. It can warn of an impending opinion like, “You’re a dolt for always mixing up your and you’re.”

I’ve done it a few times in commenting on blogs. Sometimes I catch it. Often I go in a post a second comment making up for the mistake in my first comment. It bothers me that much.

I do it in my writing too frequently for my comfort and don’t always notice it. Spell check is interesting at the best of times and all but useless here.

I’ve gone over my third ms several times. I’ve had betas go over it. Mistakes were pointed out. Corrections were made.

I started shopping it a few months back and then recently went over it again.
I read it out loud this time. It forced me to think about what I was reading and really see it rather than skip along assuming that what was supposed to be there was really there.

I still found your vs. you’re mistakes.

Okay, at least I caught ‘em before any publisher asked to see it. But I wonder, if it sits another six months what other horrors will I find?


Ann (bunnygirl) said...

It seems like no matter how often and how carefully I edit, I always miss something. I say just do your best, ask for help from your beta reader(s) and give the rest a miss. It's a common problem, and from what I've read on some of the agents' blogs, they're not going to toss your manuscript in the round file over a typo, as long as such typos are rare and the writing is good.

Michael said...

I make a lot of those mistakes too, and I can proofread and edit a thousand times and still not find them all. I'm glad to hear you say that agents aren't that sticky about it, Bunnygirl.

And you're right, Leah. Spell and grammar check can be quite interesting at times . . .

Dawn said...

Bunnygirl is right. If your writing is so hot that it's scorching the page, I believe an agent will forgive the occasional typo. Heck - you just have to read a few agent's blogs to see that they probably understand the problem of 'just washed my fingers and can't do a thing with them' very well!

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Bunnygirl. You too, Michael.

LOL on the washed fingers, Dawn.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Same for me about proofreading a thousand times and still missing errors. And I'm particularly prone to the your/you're substitution.

I assume it's not just me, and that the "preview" button on blogger comments only works if it's your own blog? Because I can't spell worth sh*t anymore and hate not being able to check before I post my ignorance for everyone to see. Sometimes I'll go out of my way to avoid a particular word, even if it's the best one, because I can't remember how spell it. (And I'm too lazy to open a dictionary in another window).