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ENGLISH PROOFREADING FOR PROFESSIONAL PERFECTION

Updated: Apr 18

Why should one employ an English proof-reader?

The short answer to this question is that everyone would like their documents to be correct and error-free. This enhances the professionalism and credibility of any document, whether it is a simple menu, an advertisement, a brochure, or a thesis.


MENUS

Why proofread a menu?

Well, why waste good money having elegant menus printed and laminated, without running them through a quick proofreading process first?


Sadly, a spell check only sorts out spelling. On many occasions I have seen restaurants offering “DESERTS”.  Would customers be interested in something sandy like the Sahara, or the Gobi, or are restaurants actually offering their patrons the DESSERT delights of crème brûleé or tiramisu?


On a more basic level, we have one tomato, but two or more tomatoes, and the same goes for potato and potatoes. There have been times in my life when I have surreptitiously rubbed off the “e” on a chalkboard advertising “tomatoe salad”.


And please, please, DO NOT use apostrophes to make items plural! 


Putting your menu through a quick proofreading process would enhance its professionalism and avoid embarrassing errors.


PROOFREADING WHEN SPELL CHECK DOES NOT HELP.

Why do I need to proofread a document when I have a spellchecker on my device?


I will list a few examples here that one a spellchecker will not pick up, but that a professional proof-reader will:


“Stationary” refers to a car which is not moving.

“Stationery” refers to a pen or pencil.


“Peak” refers to the top of a mountain, or reaching any high point.

“Peek” refers to taking a quick look. 

I cannot count how many times I have seen “sneak peak” in various documents – understandable, but such are the vagaries of the English language.  An error like this immediately reflects on the professionalism of the document.


“Quite”: It is quite hot today.

“Quiet”:  Please be quiet.

Some of these cause problems for second-language speakers (in fact even for those whose first language is English), and they can be easily eliminated by an efficient and thorough proof-reader.

 

AMERICAN ENGLISH AS OPPOSED TO BRITISH ENGLISH

I have been involved in proofreading documents in both of these ‘languages’.

As a result, I am happy to forgo the “u” in words like color, humor and labor, when I am dealing with American texts, and to insert the “u” when I am dealing with British texts.  Similarly, Americans prefer “organize” to “organise”, “meter” to “metre”, “defense” to “defence”, “travelled” to “travelled”… the list goes on.


SOME MORE SUBTLE ERRORS OF LANGUAGE

Subtleties like these cause problems for almost everyone. It is obviously one’s aim to ensure that one’s documents are perfect. Proofreading can check that one has used words such as the following correctly in context:

  • irritating and aggravating

  • less and fewer

  • amount and number 


So, in essence, if you want a professional document that will impress clients and increase your credibility, putting it into the hands of a proof-reader will help enormously.


Please avail yourself of the professional services of Eagle-eyed Annie. You won’t regret it!


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Proof reading English
Proofreading English

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