Copy Editing Hubs

There appears to be a very wide spectrum of writing quality in the hubsphere. The more hubs I read from the variety of hubbers out there, the more I realize some people could use a few helpful hints. Lately I have been sending emails to hubbers with corrections. Occasionally it has occurred that there are so many corrections that I don't send the email as it would take too much time to provide all of the corrections necessary.

Here are some examples of the latest corrections I have offered to people:

"You must of loved" should be "You must have loved"

"to jump of the airplane without parachute" should be "to jump off the airplane without a parachute"

"Most guys loose hair" should be "Most guys lose hair"

"sweating in middle of night" should be "sweating in the middle of the night"

Common Mistakes

There have been a few errors that I have found that have been very common; I will list them here:

Know the difference between there, their and they're.

Know the difference between to, too and two.

Know the difference between its and it's.

Know the difference between your and you're.

Check that of and off are used correctly.

Conclusion

One piece of advice I have is to reread your hub three or four times before you publish it, looking specifically for the trouble words like the ones I list above or anything else that doesn't seem to read correctly.

I will fully admit that I also make mistakes when I write my hubs, however, by reading through them three or four times before I publish it, I'm fairly confident I catch 99 to 100% of the errors I had made.

More by this Author


Comments 40 comments

Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

I so agree with you. I seem to just pick up on typos and they drive me nuts. Sometimes, though, it's a matter of English being their second language and perhaps they are still struggling to learn all the nuances.


mskills profile image

mskills 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

Wow, that's very altruistic of you to volunteer your time to help others with their hubs (no sarcasm, honest). I've considered doing so as well since I really want HubPages to improve, but my enthusiasm dims when I start considering the possible (negative) reactions to my advice.

My particular grammar weakness: Tenses. No matter how much my English teachers had hazed me for my stubborn disregard for sticking to one tense, I have continued to this day to befuddle my readers with unintended time travel.

P.S. This comment might be guilty.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Danette, indeed English being a second language can pose a hindrance to their ability to write, so hopefully my emails to those people will help to educate them.

mks, I am hoping that those who I email with corrections will then follow me to help me with my traffic, so it isn't totally altruistic. I don't usually have trouble with tenses for a piece as short as a hub, but sometimes when I am writing something longer I make the same time travelling errors.

As for negative reactions to my advice, I always preface the email with something like: 'Here are a few suggestions you may want to put in place that could improve your hub'. I hope this softens the blow of me pointing out their errors.


mskills profile image

mskills 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

Not totally altruistic, sure, but considerably more so than just posting "nice hub" comments on random articles and following every new hubber that hits the feed.

From past experience at a similar site (epinions.com), I found that most fledgling writers didn't appear to appreciate my input and my efforts would accomplish the opposite goal by turning them against me.

The downside to altruism, it seems.


iamsergell profile image

iamsergell 5 years ago from Darwin, Australia

Hey Phil Plasma. That's so nice of you helping other hubbers correct their mistake. Continue helping and God will reward you. I admit, I also did some flaws on my English but I openly accept their criticisms to me because it's a part of the learning process.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

mks, so far very few people have replied to my email and all that did have been appreciative, so, so far so good.

sergell, I hope that when I send the email people do not interpret it as a criticism, but rather, a helpful correction to help them to improve their writing.


jt walters 5 years ago

I too am new and I am learning and I appreciate all the advice given to me. My biggest problem is that I am used to an editor and now don't have one. I try and put everything in word first then run it through spell check and grammar check but when I cut and paste inevitably there are still problems.

I am also having headers' disappear from my articles and other things happening to my articles. I am ppositive the headers are disappearing because I always make certain I have headers so as to place the codes. Anyone else notice their header sin there artilces are disappearing? Because that mistake can't be mine. I am making certain they are in there.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

I don't know what you are referring to with respect to headers, so far I have not had any problem with hubpages, certainly none that I would be able to describe as a missing headers problem.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 5 years ago

I am in big trouble now.Grammar has never been my strong point.I do proof read and reread many times but sometimes I feel if I don't publish it now I will get cold feet and not publish it at all.I was in school many years ago and have little time for English classes now do to a hectic work schedule.I am always looking for tips and advice.Thank you so much.I know it must be aggrivating to read someones story filled with grammar mistakes and errors.I think sometimes you have to look past that and consider their thoughts and their ideas.That is a wonderful idea to help others in need of help.We all have our weaknesses some it may be writing poorly and others it may be being lazy.Thanx so much.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Dreamer, it is really no problem, I enjoy reading the hubs (well, the ones that interest me, anyhow) even if there are errors. I also enjoy helping others improve their blog through the suggestions I make. I don't always have time to do it, but I will send a message when I am able to.

I agree that with some people it is laziness, with others it is a second language and with others it is lack of skill or expertise. I only hope that my 'suggestions' are received well.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 5 years ago

I imagined the worst.I thought your response might go something like this.It is time to scrap all you have written and the only way is to start fresh.One story at a time and there is only one way to write and it is to write well.So it goes without saying I love your answer and like any criticism if it is helpful and not harmful it is more than welcome.I think we all need help many times in our lives.If we think we can do everything by ourselves we are sadly mistaken.I thank you for your time and energy and may life bring you all the joys you wish.


applecsmith profile image

applecsmith 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Very true! Nice hub. Nothing like reading an article from a writer with a lot of grammar mistakes. I have been guilty of this myself. Thanks for the tips/help.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Thanks Dreamer.

Apple, thanks, I look forward to helping you in the future.


leroy64 profile image

leroy64 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

This hub is useful and readable.

I recieved one of your emails, and started following you. I am checking out your hub articles today.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Thanks Leroy, I'm hoping to get a few more hubs posted in the next three days, I just have to get the topic for them sorted out.


whoisbid profile image

whoisbid 5 years ago

My experience is that a very small percentage of people actually read Blogs. They visit the Blog and are looking for one sentence, word or picture so that they can understand what the Blog was about and give a reply to get a quick backlink and most readers only read the replies to the Blog.

You can test this out if you don't believe me. Just write a whole bunch of blogs with lots of untrue facts in them .. insert the word "alien" or "Frank Sinatra" in the middle of a discussion about quantum theory and you will see that no-one notices for a few years. It is only people like Phil Plasma who are useful to the Blog community because he actually reads what people write. Well done Phil Plasma!


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Thanks. If you google 'Phil Plasma' you usually come to exactly the places I would like you to - first blog, and now second, hub. I can't write a bunch of untrue facts, however, I can write inane stuff with relative ease.


goody7 profile image

goody7 5 years ago from over there under the sycamore tree

This is a very helpful hub to others. I'm voting it up and useful. I'm not trying to be funny here, but with all your knowledge are you an English teacher or something?


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Strangely enough, no, I'm not. I didn't think studying English in my later school years would have led to a lucrative enough career, though I would have been much better suited to it. I studied engineering in university. Thanks for the vote.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

It's good to mention these common mistakes as it is easy to learn the grammer and get it straight. I'm still picking up my own grammer errors all the time. Most recent was when to use "Mom" and "mom." One simply needs to focus on an error, discover the rules and then do it. Many Hubbers, of course, are amateurs, and we forgive them.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Yes, in fact I instantly forgive them. :-)


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 5 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Nice hub.

A great technique for detecting errors is to read them through, but to read them out loud, as if reading to someone - as you will hear the errors that your brain misses when reading your own writing in your head (after all, your brain knows what you meant to write lol).

Text readers also do the same thing for the lazier hubbers among us ;-)

Voted up and useful!


prasathjvsk profile image

prasathjvsk 5 years ago from Chennai, India

Very nice hub. It is essential that proof reading is done more than once to avoid common errors. Thanks.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Brett, another tip I learned was to reread the entire piece by reading first the last sentence, and then the second last sentence and so on. In this way you pay more attention to what you are reading as the flow is broken up.

Prasa, yes, but it appears that even for some people, proofreading is insufficient.


greatlove profile image

greatlove 5 years ago from Beaufort, NC

Great Hub, proof reading, proof reading. I have had times where I have read something 4 or 5 times thought it was good only to re-read it a month later and realize I had an error. uugh! voted up.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

GL, thanks for the vote. I've had less time lately to do the copy/editing, though last night I sent three hubbers their corrections list.


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 5 years ago from Colorado

Phil,

This is absolutely true. I've found it fascinating how varied the styles and abilities of writers are here. Most especially, I've found it interesting how some who have severe issues with their writing skills have a great deal of important, heart-felt, and valuable ideas to share. It's an interesting hubersphere.

In any case, I really appreciate the corrections, and will be redoubling my own efforts in the future. Perhaps I'll actually do what I make my students do--read the whole piece backwards, sentence by sentence, checking for grammar (it takes your focus off of what the words are trying to say so you can focus strictly on their grammatical accuracy).

May as well walk the talk, eh?

Thanks so much,

wayseeker


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

WS, I recall being given the exact same advice from one of my highschool English teachers to proof read (the read full sentences in reverse order). I do not tend to do that myself as I am usually getting everything pretty good the first run through. Rereading three times allows me to catch any mistakes I may have made, and so far I've received only one email with only one correction in it from someone who does the same copy/editing emails I send, so I think I'm doing okay. Thanks for stopping by!


seicheprey profile image

seicheprey 5 years ago

True indeed, Phil.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

seiche, thanks for stopping by!


Ernie 4 years ago

thanks for the information. Always needing help some time or another.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Ernie, that's no problem, glad to help.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I too have sent some messages to Hubbers when I notice an error or two - only if the overall hub is good and the corrections will make it better. I always hope when I send them that they will be received in the heart that they were intended.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Millionaire, I have never received negative feedback after having provided this gentle nudge. Usually, for those who respond, I get generous thanks. Thanks for helping others and stopping by!


aa lite profile image

aa lite 4 years ago from London

I'm afraid I am guilty of making some of these common mistakes, it is not that I don't know the difference between lose and loose etc. but when typing I often get it wrong. As you say the solution is to proof read the hub a few times before hitting the publish button, but I am often too impatient to do that.

In some way these typos are not the main problem I find with the quality of hubs, typos are irritating but as long as they don't occur too many times in a hub, I can live with them. Quality issues that really get under my skin, are when the hubs are obviously written to make money, either recommend a product or affiliate link, or on SEO and yet don't really say anything. I really feel I've been cheated when I visit a hub like that.

Obviously it's perfectly fine to write commercial hubs and try to make money. I do the same myself, and do keyword research. But you should provide useful information. Hubs that spend 2000 keyword-laced words to tell me that I want to have traffic to my hubs, and that I need to write quality original content to do that, really make me angry! And people who publish obviously badly spun articles (I find so many when hub hopping), should just be banned on sight!


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

aa - if you feel this way; on at least the worst cases you should flag the hub as 'too commercial'. I've done this a few times, especially when reading the most recently posted hubs. Thanks for stopping by!


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 4 years ago from New York City

Thanks for this cool helpful hub and also for the assistance you've given me a while back via email to help me with much of my grammatical errors.

I know that I've made a great deal of them, and I do my very best to fix and correct them all. Grammar issues have hurt my web traffic for sure, and so it was cool for you to reach out to me, and assist.

I think that many people have no idea of this fact that you pointed out about their writings, and its apparent to us readers and writers when we read an article that has a great deal of minor grammar errors or major ones.

I also try to help fellow hubbers from time to time, by sending them thoughtful, and helpful messages to their inbox. Anything helps and this is why I love the hubpages community so much, because of people like you Phil. Awesome hub bro thumbs up! and out.


vnsatakopan profile image

vnsatakopan 4 years ago from Chennai, India

Very interesting. I agree that the language of English should not be treated in a casual way. I would appreciate if readers pass comments on my writing as English is not even my second language. It probably comes fourth.


abbykorinnelee profile image

abbykorinnelee 4 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

very useful, I am working on my grammar with my Women's Literature professor and have started going back through my hubs and trying to correct new errors I find. It is a learning process. I have never had a problem with content, as told to me by several people (including my professor), its my grammar. I went to school in a Scottish school and learned three years worth of Scottish by the time I was eight years old and came stateside. I missed a lot of English grammar and vocabulary and sentence structure those three years. I really appreciate your advice. I hope that writers that struggle like I do don't get judged right off for their grammar errors. Some of us aren't 'lazy' writers, just refining and relearning as we go.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

CloudExplorer; I'm pleased that I have been able to help you; I agree, help like this is what makes Hubpages a warm and welcoming community.

vns; I commend you for writing especially considering it is not your first language. I can only imagine how difficult that must be. Thanks for stopping by!

abby; I really hope that whenever I send a message advising of some errors that need correcting that I don't come off as judgmental. That is the furthest thing from my thoughts - I am merely wanting to help the hubber with their writing skills. I can appreciate how those formative years can have a profound effect on us. Thanks for stopping by!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working