• Victoria Hunt

'Can't I just use a spellchecker?'

This is a question we proofreaders are often asked. There are far more things we check than just spelling – correct layout, matching cross-references, complete numbering sequences to name just a few (see my Proofreading Services page) – but if your text has undergone several rounds of editing, was written in a hurry, or has sections which have been written by different authors, the chances are that there will be unintentional errors and inconsistencies which have slipped through the net, even once the spellchecker has been run.

Here are some examples of rather embarrassing – and potentially dangerous – mistakes a proofreader would correct but a spellchecker would not!


Manger’ instead of ‘manager

Pubic’ instead of ‘public’​

Bad word breaks:

Men- swear’ instead of ‘mens- wear

Arse- nal’ instead of ‘Ar- senal


Woman without her man is nothing’, or should it be ‘Woman: without her, man is nothing’?

It can be very difficult to proofread material you have written yourself because the human brain automatically reads what it expects to see, rather than what is actually there. A poorly checked document makes its author look careless, and can also be incredibly damaging to the credibility and clarity of the message. A proofreader with a fresh pair of eyes will be able to give your work a final polish, making it clear, consistent and professional, and enabling you to be taken seriously.

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