Five Proofreading Myths
By DALE JACKSON
Here are my top five proofreading myths, and the truth about each of them.
Myth: I don’t need a proofreader because I always use a spellchecker.
Truth. A spellchecker is great for finding misspelt words and sometimes even grammatical errors. The problem is that it doesn’t spot words that are spelt correctly but have been incorrectly transposed such as ‘form’ instead of ‘from’, ‘grain’ instead of ‘brain’, ‘men’ instead of ‘man’, etc.
Myth: Anyone can proofread—I always get my friend to read through my work.
Truth. It’s a good idea to get someone else to proofread your text because the brain knows what should be there and tends to auto-correct mistakes as we read our own words. However, many people are unsure of the numerous terms, spellings and rules in the English language such as ‘accept’ or ‘except’, ‘its’ or ‘it’s’, ‘affect’ or ‘effect’. Professional proofreaders will check and amend these for you.
Myth: Proofreading is not that important—I just need my work to be “good enough”.
Truth. Not everything needs to be proofread—no-one is going to dismiss a personal letter from a friend just because it has a spelling mistake. However, if you want to create an impact and encourage people to read your words or buy your products and services—you want to make the best possible impression. Your efforts could all be in vain if the text contains mistakes or a big gaffe slips in to distract from the content and ruin your chances of success.
Myth: Professional proofreading is expensive.
Truth. Proofreading provides peace of mind and you may be surprised at the reasonable cost involved.
Myth: Proofreading takes too long.
Truth. It is perfectly true that proofreading cannot be rushed because it takes time to spot errors and inconsistencies, but an experienced proofreader can usually return your work to you relatively quickly—often within 24 hours if only a few thousand words are involved.
Decide for yourself. Can proofreading help your work to stand out for all the right reasons?