November 2020 – mistakes of 2020

As we approach the end of another year (and quite a year at that!) it is customary, perhaps, to review the year. In blogs towards the end of 2019, I did some personal reflection. This year I’ve had a look back at some of the errors I’ve spotted in texts.

This is not a name and shame exercise but rather an attempt to identify some of the things that fell through the cracks this year. These are from student essays, annual reports, business cards, books and so on. All were documents that had been checked before coming to me.

  • The business that left a digit off its phone number.
  • The organisation that put when they meant .com in their email address.
  • The student that missed out the word ‘not’ which completely changed the nature of the sentence.
  • The helpful editor that used find-and-replace to change ‘ship’ to ‘boat’ and so the document spoke about their ‘relationboat’ and ‘friendboat’.
  • The financial report that changed the style of thousands from 1000 to 1,000. Whoever or whatever was used to make the change throughout the document didn’t think about references to years such as 2015 or 1996: they became 2,015 and 1,996.
  • The financial text that changed the order of questions but not the order of solutions.
  • The pension review that referred to Mr Smith throughout but then Mr Jones at the end.
  • The student that repeated a whole paragraph.
  • The company whose financial accounts didn’t add up.
  • The company that referred to revenues in their report that differed to those in their accounts.

Some of these are minor but some could have had a major impact on obtaining business, the essay score or the credibility of the organisation. It goes to show that errors easily creep in and can be just as easily missed.

Proofreading is not just about the spelling, punctuation and grammar of the text. It is also about the formatting, consistency and accuracy.

How long may those businesses first mentioned have gone on using the material that misquoted their contact details? How long could they have been losing out on business? It shows how investing in a professional proofreader could be cheaper in the long run!

So, if you’re busy with an essay, thesis, website, blog, report, business stationery or whatever written material you may be creating – why not consider my proofreading services?

Kindly proofread by Janice Gilbert of WordPerfectProof.

August 2020 – Top Tips

I’m hoping I won’t be putting myself out of business here but these are my five top tips when it comes to proofreading.

  1. Read it aloud – saying it out loud can really help. I find it helps focus on the words and the pace of the sentence, and provides you with a natural feel of the sentence. We often skim over words when reading in our head and the brain just fills in the gaps,  but when reading out loud we slow down. I have been reading my 8-year-old some of my favourite books and I’ve spotted typos that I haven’t before. The difference? I’m reading out loud.
  2. Read it tomorrow – take a break between writing it and reading it. Writing is a creative process. You put your thoughts down on paper. Proofreading is a different skill. In a previous blog, I discussed the differences between a copywriter and a proofreader. Many copywriters don’t like to proofread and vice versa so why would you want to jump from one to the other yourself, perhaps in the same sitting?
  3. Read it backwards – not like that… but start at the last page and work back. All too often we start at the first page, get tired working through it and so miss stuff at the end. If you always start checking at the start, you’ll always be tired when checking the last bit.
  4. Take breaks – proofread a few pages at a time. Do a bit, do something else and come back to it.
  5. Read it again. And then again. And perhaps, read it again.

Of course, you may not want to do all this. You may not have the time. So, that’s where I come in! I can be proofreading your document making use of these top tips while you are off getting other work done or doing whatever you’d rather be doing. Sounds good? Then contact me here.


Kindly proofread by Janice Gilbert of WordPerfectProof.