Sometimes I muse at the amount of reading I do. I mean, wouldn’t someone who does it for a living want to shake things up a little? Maybe watch a movie? Play cards?? But the reality is, I read differently for pleasure than I do when I read as a copyeditor.
When I read something on my own time, I read for content. It’s for pleasure alone, and although I may notice errors if they exist, I don’t look for them. I allow myself to enjoy the words on the page and to read at whatever speed I choose.
When I copyedit, on the other hand, the opposite is true. I have to switch my brain to edit-mode and, instead of breezing over the words and getting caught up in the story, I read each word slowly and as it relates to the sentence. As I read, my brain is looking for spelling errors, incorrect grammar, inconsistency of thought, incorrect usage of words…the list goes on.
I’m sure we can all think of a time when we’ve read something and our brains saw what we wanted to see, not what was actually there. It’s what our brains do. We read things as we expect them to be, not necessarily how they’re actually written. It happens to the best of us. It’s just that when it does, some of us have to remind ourselves to snap out of it!
So the answer is yes, copyeditors really do read differently.
Other than that, we’re really quite normal!