Tag Archives: need for proofreading

A British Mister

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A British Mister? A Mister Misting?

Reading a news article today about current British-American relations, I came across a reference to a “British mister.” My first thought was that it referred to some British bloke (as they might say). Then I wondered if it were someone in government who was in charge of taking care of plants in government offices: watering, trimming, fertilizing, and misting them.

Obviously, the writer intended to write “minister,” but because “mister” is a word and software cannot determine context, “mister” prevailed.

Whether it’s fair or not, we are judged by the way we write. If we don’t proofread meticulously, errors will slip through and there’s a good chance we will be determined to be careless people. This can be detrimental in many areas of our lives.

Proofreading doesn’t take long. I’ve written about this before, but if we proofread silently and at our normal reading speed, we will read what we think we wrote, not what we actually wrote. Reading backwards will pick up very few errors: if you wrote the and meant they, you won’t catch it.

The most effective proofreading method is to read out loud—not as in some dramatic oration but just loudly enough that you can hear your words. It’s also important to read more slowly than your normal speed. If you do both, chances are you will write error-free text.

 

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Proofreading is Crucial (or How Not to Get Laughed At)

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I found this entry in Drummond Moir’s book, Just My Typo:

“On 22 April, 2003, a closed captioning typist for ABC’s World News Tonight informed viewers that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was ‘in the hospital for an enlarged prostitute.’ Later that evening, viewers were advised that Mr. Greenspan was in fact having prostate problems.”

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Why Proofreading Is Essential

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Proofreading is a dying art. Editors are a disappearing species. Writing is hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be good at it. Here are some gaffes that made their way into print. It’s always a good idea to proofread your work. Good idea? It’s essential. Read your work out loud and slowly and you won’t be guilty of writing items such as the following:

“TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW.”

In a Laundromat:

AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT.

In a London department store:

BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS

In an office:

WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEPLADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN.

In an office:

AFTER TEA BREAK, STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD.

Outside a secondhand shop:

WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING — BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?

Notice in health food shop window:

CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS

Spotted in a safari park:

ELEPHANTS, PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR.

Seen during a conference:

FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN’T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOOR.

Notice in a farmer’s field:

THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES.

Message on a leaflet:

IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS.

On a repair shop door:

WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR — THE BELL DOESN’T WORK.)

This one I [I have no idea who this “I” is, nor where all these signs and headlines came from. Otherwise, I would include attribution—JB] caught in the SGV Tribune the other day, called the editorial room and asked who wrote this. It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible. They put in a correction the next day:

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

More headlines:

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

Really? Ya’ think?

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Now that’s taking things a bit far.

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

What a guy.

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

No-good-for-nothing lazy so-and-so’s.

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

See if that works better than a fair trial.

War Dims Hope for Peace

I can see where it might have that effect.

If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Ya’ think?

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Who would have thought.

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

They may be on to something.

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?

Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge

He probably IS the battery charge.

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Weren’t they fat enough?

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

That’s what he gets for eating beans.

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Do they taste like chicken?

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Chainsaw Massacre all over again.

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Boy, are they tall.

And the winner is:

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

 

 

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