The Impotence of Proofreading

By Daniel Scocco

proofreading.gifIts a fact that a spell checker will not catch all the mistakes on your text. More specifically, it will not catch misspellings that form other valid words.

So how do you solve this problem? Proofreading, of coarse!

Just read again through you’re text trying to spot words that don’t fit, and make sure to not loose the focus while you do it. Proofreading is sometimes more important then using the spell checker itself.

You should proofread virtually any written piece, from emails to blog posts. Proofread your homework as well, since you don’t want to drive the principle of your school crazy.

Let’s be honest, misspelled words are defiantly a sign of ignorance.

The simple act of proofreading will have a great affect on the quality of your material, and I am sure that you’ll earn more complements from people.

Their you go my friend, and take this advice seriously. After all, you don’t want to look dumb in front of the general pubic!

P.S. Can you find all the “mistakes”?

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88 Responses to “The Impotence of Proofreading”

  • Eli

    How right you are. I’m not much of a proofreader of my own content, then one day when I’m randomly reading some of it I see terrible mistakes 🙁 So I should definitely proofread more often.

  • Daniel

    No kidding, when you go through older pieces that you’ve written you find a lot of messy stuff.

  • Jay Wagers

    Here’s a tip I used in graduate school and one I pass along to my students: Read aloud to yourself.

    When you proofread silently, you really tend to skim and possibly miss mistakes. But, if you read aloud, there is absolutely no way your mouth can keep up with your brain. Therefore, you have to slow down and you can “hear” your mistakes more easily.

    People may give you funny looks, but not when grades come out and you are on top.

  • Ray Fowler

    Ha! Great post Daniel. I counted eleven proofreading “errors.” Did I miss any?

  • Daniel

    If you count the title, there are 12 🙂 .

  • Jay Wagers

    Really? I count 13.

  • Berto

    You almost had me! As I started reading the first sentence in an entry about self-assessment in writing I thought how ironic it was that the very first word was already a grammatical infraction, ha ha.

    Great entry, good fun… keep up the good work.

  • Dave Donoghue

    Great entry. I like the reading aloud idea, and I also read sections and paragraphs out of order, which helps refocus my mind.

  • Ali

    For a minute I thought, what is this guy preaching to us for. Then I got the message 😉

    Good “articel”.

  • Roshawn

    You had me going for a minute, but then I understood you were actively trying to teach us what proofreading is all about.

    For the record, I count 13 errors.

    Excellent post. Keep ’em coming! 🙂

  • Better Blogging with Michael Martine

    Well, I hope you enjoy your newfound search prowess concerning the word “impotence”. 😉

    Great article! I laughed all the way through.

  • Homonym

    Homonym is a headache in medical transcription too! Once while proofreading a file, I ended up with a sentence like this: “He lives with his knees” where as it should be “niece.” Silly isn’t it? No spellchecker could spot it unless you proofread it. Else, our silly mistake is a joke for others.

  • Camille

    Oops, “the principle of your school?”

  • Camille

    I got 12 errors! A little late on the thread.

  • Robble

    Proofreading after a short break, or better yet: a good nite’s sleep, increases the quality of your revisions/corrections, mebelieves.

  • Vostro

    One way to proofread is to read the text one word at a time, from the last word to the first word in the document written.

  • polly

    Hukd on FonikZ wurcked 4 I.

  • Cristina

    you haven’t proofread your blog either 🙂 HeHe i think that’s b/c you wanted to make a point:)

  • WetcoastBob

    Owed two a Spell Chequer

    Eye halve a spelling chequer; 
It came with my pea sea;
It plainly marques four my revue 
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea. 

Eye strike a key and type a word 
End weight four it two say 
Weather eye am wrong our write – 
It shows me straight a weigh. 

As soon as a mist ache is maid 
It nose bee fore two long, 
And eye kin put the arrow rite
It’s rare lea ever wrong. 

Eye have run this poem threw it; 
I am shore your pleased two no 
Its letter perfect awl the weigh, 
My spell chequer tolled me sew!

  • SexDrgsPoker

    I think your an outstanding writer, which shows in you’re grammar. Professional proofreaders are fine, but there going to get they’re booty kicked over their, especially if your going to continue writing you’re articles.

  • drunkenoaf

    “it shows in you’re grammar”. Ha! Very witty (I hope!)

  • Business Market Research

    proofreading is all about re ensuring your thoughts rather than correcting grammar and typo.

  • Business Market Research

    typo and grammar always put off people

  • jamirus99

    Taylor Mali, the slam poet, has a fantastic track labled “The Impotence of Proof-reading.”

    I wonder if that’s where the title came from.

  • Simon Raybould

    Not just to proof after a break, but better still, get someone else to do it!

    I find it’s very hard – almost impossible – to spot my own mistakes but I can see other people’s……


  • lauren

    I am all about proof reading but what about those crazy typos that just don’t get caught? I double space my writing and then read each paragraph backwards so I can take the sentences out of context but still I hate missing a “no” when it should be “know”.

  • Daniel

    Lauren, reading backwards is good advice indeed.

  • Aaron

    I love the purposeful misspellings in the article… It reminds me of reading just about everything I’ve ever read on the internet. I’ve also noticed that a lot of more “reputable” news outlets like the New York Times and Reuters seem to have lost the ability to proofread. Interesting stuff.

  • Brandon

    I’ve found that a good way to proofread, for spelling mistakes, is to read everything backwards. Similar to how reading out loud forces you to read everything, reading backwards breaks up your flow and really highlights the words by themselves.

    “pubic general the of front in dumb look to want don’t you all after”

  • Jenue Brosinski

    I love the title of this article!

  • kevan

    Psst… The title of your post is also the title of a poem from Taylor Mali, did you snag it from him?

  • Matt Keegan

    I love the use of their for there, principle for principal, etc. No spell checker will catch those mistakes, nor will every grammar checker do the same.

  • Daniel

    Kevan, yeah I had seen Taylor Mali’s video a couple of time ago, it served as inspiration.

  • subcorpus

    i’ve reread it several times …
    i simply cant seem to find 12 mistakes …

  • Sandy Pell

    What fun! May I share this with my SAT test-prep students? Most have not quite grasped the idea that there, their and they’re are not interchangeable. Don’t get me started on their pronoun agreement and case.

  • Daniel

    Sandy, sure 🙂 .

  • Leion

    Sometimes the first proof reading missed out some mistakes and it takes the 2nd or the 3rd one to get to it

  • Abbe Logee

    Actually, you need to proofread several times — for different types of errors. Reading backward will usually catch misspellings, but not poor grammar or homonym problems. You have to reread VERY CAREFULLY, from front to back, to check for grammar and syntax errors as well as just plain bad writing.

    The best way to proofread, however, is to ask someone else with good writing/spelling/grammar skills to check your writing for you.

  • Rick

    Dew knot trussed spell-ing chequers two fined awl yore mist steaks.

  • greendawg

    When proofreading, a red penis your best friend.

  • Jakob

    This is exactly what I expected to find out after reading the title poetry. Thanks for informative article

  • Raji Joshi

    That was fun. I could catch 13 mistakes.wonder if there are more.

  • Bill

    Even though the article states there are 13 errors, there are actually 12. My suspicion is that “misspelled” is spelled correctly, and the common misconception is that it is spelled as “mispelled”.

  • Prateek Kashyap

    The worst part of not proof reading a piece and then sending it is like sending out a message saying “unprofessional” written all over it. I guess we all need to cultivate this habit.

  • Mike


  • Simonne

    Very funny! I always heated proofreading!

  • peter

    I often find myself cutting and pasting blog comments such as these into an email draft or some other program that at least allows a spell check. It seems like a “word usage checker” for the 500 most common mistakes could also be easily included.

  • Joe

    Great Stuff!

  • Events

    Proofreading is the probably one of the more important aspects of writing. It trains you to be more observant and scrutinizing your writing before someone else has the chance to is advised.

  • pawblo

    General pubic, ha!

    good to have tense in your import!

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