How to seriously annoy a proofreader

Say: “Why do we need proofreaders anymore? We have SpellCheck!”

Arrrrggggggghhhhhh. Seriously?

Granted, SpellCheck is a wonderful tool. Those obtrusive red squiggles will alert you to a lot of errors. But no, SpellCheck does not replace a pair of human eyes and a human brain processing what those eyes are reading.

SpellCheck will tell you if you mispelled [sic] misspell. It will let you know that you typed the same word word twice. In other words, obvious errors. But there are so many other things that can go wrong when one is writing.

Homonym confusion, for example. SpellCheck won’t tell that you typed hear when you meant here. Or to instead of too. If you make a typo (e.g., writ instead of write) and your typo is a legitimate word, SpellCheck won’t indicate your error.

SpellCheck couldn’t care less if you spell out numbers in one paragraph and then type numerals in the next one. And speaking of which, SpellCheck won’t tell you that it’s wrong to say “I could care less” when you really mean that you couldn’t.

SpellCheck won’t keep track of consistency for you. If you’re writing a novel and your heroine’s name is Joan, SpellCheck won’t highlight the fact that you zoned out while writing Chapter 3 and referred to Joan as Jean.

If your verbiage is inaccurate, only a human being can tell you that. If you refer to Las Vegas as “Tinseltown,” SpellCheck won’t magically jump into your document and let you know that Tinseltown is a nickname for Hollywood, not Vegas. (Yes, this is a real error that I corrected in a manuscript.)

You can type “Bakersfield is the capital of California,” and SpellCheck won’t argue with you. As long as you spell Bakersfield and California correctly, only a proofreader will tell you no, Sacramento is the capital.

If you write “Egg yolks are also known as the albumin,” SpellCheck will tell you that you spelled albumen incorrectly. Actually, scratch that. Albumin is also a legitimate word, so SpellCheck won’t differentiate. But even worse, it won’t tell you that albumen is egg white, not egg yolk. (Yes, I’m sneaky.)

I could go on and on with these, but I think you get my point.

So please, don’t annoy your proofreaders. They are still quite¬†irreplaceable.


3 responses to “How to seriously annoy a proofreader”

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  1. Craig says:

    These are great! Thanks for posting. Keep ‘em coming!

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  3. Erica says:

    Thank you so much!