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Why you need a proofreader

Jo's Correctional FacilityWhat do I do?

I'm a proofreader, and there's something I'd like to get off my chest...

As you may know, proofreading is reading text to detect errors. It sounds easy doesn’t it? Surely you could just ask your partner/cousin/dog to do it?

Well, no, I don’t believe that's the case.

Although often thought of as grammar geeks and word nerds, what proofreaders do is actually important, and I’d like to explain why:

What is proofreading?

Everyone makes mistakes and typos. As a proofreader it's my job to read what you write, and check to make sure it's consistent. I make sure the text is accurate, spot things that other people don’t notice, and fix any problems.

Proofreading is simply ensuring that your text is clear, correct, concise, complete, and consistent.

When I proofread your work, I check your grammar, spelling, and meaning, to help you clearly communicate your ideas to your audience. It’s actually a lot more than a quick read through with spellcheck. That’s why I strongly suggest you avoid relying on computer-based spelling and grammar checks, or asking your dog for help. 

Consider this: As far as spellcheck is concerned, their is knot any thing wrung with this cent tents.

Why do businesses use proofreaders?

Research shows that individuals are less likely to trust and engage with a business that makes spelling or grammatical mistakes. Why? It's a matter of professionalism. A good business carefully manages its appearance, and copy is part of the business' public face. If it isn't polished, it leaves a bad impression, like getting your numbers wrong or wearing slippers to the office.

If you're still not convinced, consider a recent high-profile typo in a cookery book. The phrase “freshly ground black people”, which should have been “freshly ground black pepper”, led to all 7,000 copies being destroyed at huge cost. Oops.

Why should you use me to check your work?

1. As a proofreader, I'm not emotionally attached to your work. I haven’t spent hours writing your content and toying with its syntax and structure. I start with no preconceptions and stay impartial, so I can focus on helping your readers understand you.

2. When I work, I’m focused on one thing: proofreading! You, on the other hand, have a job, and therefore probably have a long list of other tasks that you should be doing. It’s easy to be distracted.

3. You may have a strong command of the English language and you may be rightly confident in your ability as a writer, but are you an expert? English language rules are constantly changing, and sometimes they can be broken. I’m up-to-date on the landscape of the language, am used to spotting errors, and I get a lot of practice.

For an intelligent, educated individual, this idea may feel insulting. This isn't the intention, and hopefully when you have used a proofreader, you will be converted! Don't forget that you have the option to accept or reject the changes made to your work. I'm happy to explain the reason for the amends, and chat about the options. Please also bear in mind that proofreaders are naturally very helpful people and we just want things to be right.

I’d like to end with this poem on the limitation of traditional spell checkers;

Ode to My Spell Checker.

Eye halve a spelling checker It came with my pea sea.

It plainly marks four my revue miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a quay and type a word and weight for it to say Weather eye yam wrong oar write.

It shows me strait a weigh as soon as a mist ache is maid.

It nose bee fore two long and eye can put the error rite.

Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it, I am shore your pleased to no.

Its letter perfect awl the way.

My checker told me sew.


For more information, please visit Jo's website.


About the author.

Jo is a professional copywriter and proofreader who has a great deal of experience in writing effective copy. Jo has a keen eye for detail and a passion for brands and marketing.

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