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50 Shades of Proofreading

by Lucy Aldridge on 08·12·2015

As the saying goes 'A pen is mightier than the sword', however, a harmless omission of the space between the 'pen' and 'is' can have embarrassing consequences, worthy of any E L James novel, rather than the original thought-provoking sentiment!

On a less cheeky note, recently I was in a country pub and was highly amused to see that they had 'Wild Bore' on the specials blackboard. Images of a rampantly wild chemistry teacher foraging in the undergrowth came to mind rather than that of an oversized hairy pig! I hasten to add that even though I was desperate to amend this mistake, and had already spied a piece of chalk, the waitress was just as scary as a real wild boar, so I thought it best to refrain from taking any action.

As these kinds of errors demonstrate, they may not have been picked up by a sophisticated spellchecker, therefore validating the importance of thorough proofreading.

The English language has a rich resource of vocabulary, tenses, declensions, clauses, sub clauses etc. in fact it is one of the most difficult languages to learn.  As an example look at the word 'bow' - this can be pronounced 2 different ways and have up to 7 meanings either as a verb or a noun. For the more technically minded this is a perfect example of a homonym.  Alternatively a more common mistake is the homophone, where words sound the same but are spelt differently and have different meanings such as 'bear' and 'bare', or my particular bugbear 'their', 'there' and 'they're'.

We at The Timebank pride ourselves on ensuring that every piece of work is proofread before issue to our clients (the advisers) so that these types of errors along with spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes are minimal, if any at all.  We understand that presentation is an important part of a firm's branding and appreciate that it is key to ensure that the information contained in a report/suitability letter/research document is accurate, relevant, compliant and that the supporting documents co-ordinate accordingly.  All of these elements are checked as part of the proofreading process.  We are also very much aware of the end user, i.e. the end client, and the adviser's commitment to Treating Customers Fairly by ensuring that the reports are accessible on all levels.

For my coup de grace, as to the importance of thorough proofreading, is the justification behind why I changed my name from Louise to Lucy in my professional life as I once received an email addressed to Dear Lousie... enough said!