The Impotence of Proofreading

As an English teacher for students in grades 9-12, looking out for spelling or grammatical mistakes isn't just my day job, it's my passion. I get a kick out of catching mistakes in published books, magazines, or newspapers. I really do. I have even been known to manually correct these mistakes on the printed page. Something about finding those mistakes, whether it's the writer's inability to distinguish between than/then, theirs/there's, or my personal favorite, its/it's, makes my brain hurt. So I just have to correct them. You know, to make my brain happy.

Now I know that mistakes happen sometimes. I'm not trying to say I'm perfect. God knows I'm not! I'm sure some of my blog posts might have an error or two in them. And mistakes aren't necessarily a bad thing, because they can serve as learning tools. But when the mistakes are plentiful, when it's obvious the writer did not even glance at his/her paper before handing it in, that's when I take it personally. Because it's a lack of respect to the reader, which is motivated in turn by a lack of caring on the part of the writer -- he/she couldn't spare the extra second to proofread his/her work because he/she just doesn't care.  He/she doesn't care about you, the reader. Or if the paper ever gets read. In fact, he/she is probably hoping it never gets read. Especially by someone wielding a red pen.

What did you think of the video? Do you proofread any work you write before submitting it, whether academically or professionally?

Kudos to my bloggy friend Asheyna for sending me the video! You inspired this post. :)


8 comment(s):

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

uh, ms. simon, i's afriad your gunna cetch spelling mistakes in my blogg poasts.

Unknown said...


No, but seriously -- I hope I don't scare my readers away from commenting on or reading my blog! My frustration isn't directed at my bloggy friends. Pinkie promise. :)

Rachelle said...

I knew you'd like it :)

I'm not the best with the grammar, I know this and it's/its always throws me. Even I can admit that the reason is laziness. I've looked it up, tried to learn, but it won't stick in my head!

I don't tend to fuss about the little mistakes, but the big huge glaring you obviously didn't read this over tends to incur my wrath.

Unknown said...

i know exaaactly what you mean. i've got an extra one that i look out for, too. one that you actually committed in your post: they. it's plural. ALWAYS. Women's Studies classes have ruined me forever, hahahah.


also, i trust that you have seen alot of grammar mistakes? (wink wink, nudge nudge)

Unknown said...

AHHHH, I did the "they" mistake. I knew I was going to make one. But at least I didn't write "alot." ;)

Claire Kiefer said...

Wait, I'm confused about the "they" mistake! Where is it and what's it about? I want to know because I'm also a grammar freak. :) The one I hate the most is when people use unnecessary apostrophes, like: "The Brown's are going on vacation!" etc. OMG. The BROWNS are not POSSESSING anything, so they don't need a dang apostrophe! hahaha.

Unknown said...

@Claire: That's because I nixed the mistake, heh. The mistake was kind of like this: "The writer makes their mistake," when it should read "his/her mistake." Jackerbie was kind enough to point it out. :)

.adri. said...

I loved this video because, of course, I could relate to it! lol

But in the case of many of my students, I don't always think it's laziness. Honestly, many of them don't know how to write properly... which is very sad :(