Do I really need a proofreader?

Even though modern apps check for spelling and grammar errors, I spot errors online and in print all the time. If your document is important personally, professionally and/or commercially, you can benefit greatly from a second pair of eyes on your copy. Whether you ask a friend for a favour or get a professional to review your writing…YES, you need a proofreader!

Why are there still errors in published copy?

1 – Actual words won’t be caught by your spellchecker. Missed typos can range from nonsensical to downright cringe worthy like this huge ad on the side of a bus shelter in the UK. (I could say more here, but in the interest of work-safe content, I will not.)

2 – Your brain can trick you. According to psychologist Tom Stafford at the University of Sheffield, writing is a high-level task and, “We don’t catch every detail…we take in sensory information and combine it with what we expect, and we extract meaning.” When you review your own writing, your brain ‘knows’ what the text should say and often scans past typos.

3 – Homonyms! Two or more words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. This is really a special case of the first point above, but this error is so common that it is worth special attention. Here are just a few examples:

  • Your
  • You’re
  • There
  • Their
  • They’re

  • Than
  • Then
  • To
  • Too
  • Two

4 – Nobody is perfect.

This happens to the best of us! I once sent new price pages to a customer with some of my pricing notes still attached. No confidential information was disclosed (per se) but having to go back to the customer with a correction and ask them to delete the previous version of the file was awkward.

What’s your most embarrassing typo or oversight? Please share in the comments!

© 2021 Tracey Copeland, Rolling Sands Consulting.

Published by tracey copeland

Marketer, Creator, Coach | Brand Communications | Strategic Planning | Talented Leader of Diverse, Cross-functional Teams ― Tracey is an award-winning marketing and communications specialist with a passion for helping others define and reach their goals.

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