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  • Sarah Higgins-Grove

Why use a proofreader?

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Most businesses rely on the publication, submission or distribution of written material in one form or another. Whether website content, marketing material, a bid submission or application form, it must communicate its message in the clearest possible way. This is where a proofreader can help.

A proofreader will correct errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation and make suggestions to improve clarity, consistency and flow, ensuring you're left with a polished document that's ready for its intended audience.

But perhaps you can't imagine paying someone to proofread your work? Maybe you're comfortable checking it yourself or are happy to rely on your computer spell checker? Perhaps you know someone – a friend or colleague – who will do it for free? Well, think again!

Proofreading your own work: You may think you've checked your work, but people often miss their own mistakes and an error will almost certainly sneak through. This doesn't mean you don't have a sound grasp of the English language, it's just that you're too familiar with what you're writing to spot spelling and punctuation mistakes or issues around content, structure and flow.

Relying on your spell checker: Spell checkers are great tools and will catch many common typos, but they're far from perfect. They often miss homophonic errors (such as there or their), they won't pick up on typos that are actually real words (care instead of car), they don't spot incorrect word usage (affect instead of effect) and they're prone to making unwanted substitutions (replacing an abbreviation HTE with the).

Using a friend or colleague: Asking a friend to read your work is a good idea, once or twice, but you don't want to be a burden by taking advantage of their goodwill. Asking a colleague is also an option, but don't be fooled into thinking that it's free – time is money and their time is probably better spent on something else.

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