Problems with proofreading


I get very annoyed when I read posts on social media which contain simple spelling errors. Don’t these people ever CHECK what they have written? You cannot always rely on your device’s spellchecker.


I admit.

I am something of a literary snob. Point taken.

After 35 years of trying to teach children how to write correctly, it is firmly part of my makeup. It annoys me. I want to get out a red pen and draw a firm line through the offending words. Errors on signs in public places such as shops also irk me, as do mistakes in our local newspaper (which always has a few).

I saw a classic example of this over the entrance to a restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was called “Sweet Memorize”.  I certainly have memorised that sign, and memories of it are always sweet. I should add that I didn’t eat in that restaurant. Goodness knows what they did to their menu – especially if it was translated into English.

Restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal

Restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal

I know it is petty of me to talk about this in disparaging terms. Providing there is communication, I guess that is all that counts.

Errors in published books

For publishers to allow errors of spelling in printed books is a totally different matter. I can accept the occasional typo, and even a small spelling mistake. But to allow a totally wrong word to be used is beyond comprehension. Someone in the proofreading department was asleep at the wheel, I think.

I am starting to read more and more eBooks, and some of these have been self-published. This is where the errors are creeping in, and standards are dropping rapidly, often with amusing consequences. I was recently reading a wonderful novel which was spoiled for me by totally missed out words.

It had a completely incorrect word.

Glaring error

I won’t mention the name of the book, or the name of the author. I don’t wish to embarrass them, but this error made me laugh out loud. The angry protagonist was said to “utter a string of obscurities.”

I concede that the words “obscurities” and “obscenities” are close enough to get the spelling incorrect, but surely someone picked up this glaring error before going to print?

Whatever happened to allow this error to creep in is a lesson for us all. Proofreading one’s writing before it goes public is crucial, no matter what the format. Getting someone else to check your writing is also important.

Now, before I post this article, I had better go back and check every word.


Good writing.


Further reading:



One Response to “Problems with proofreading”

  1. Ken Rolph says:

    “I concede that the words “obscurities” and “obscenities” are close enough”

    Perhaps the writer thought that the words were the same, for all intense purposes.