Please, people—PROOFREAD!

When are people—so-called professional writers—going to learn that spell check is NOT a proofreader? It is not as good as a proofreader. It doesn’t eliminate the need for a proofreader. Just because all the words are spelled correctly doesn’t mean they make sense, or that they are even the right words!

I read a lot of news on the internet these days, and I am constantly amazed at the mistakes that I see. Sometimes, it seems that someone turned in their piece by phone and the typist just typed the first incarnation of the word that came to mind, rather than paying attention to the meaning.

The paragraph below came from what is supposed to be a well-known, professional writer for a major news organization. I was stunned when I read it. Note that all the words are spelled correctly, but…

“In his [Crichton’s] last novel, he dismissed global warming.  So a political columnist for the “New Republic,” who went to Yale, named Michael Crowley, and ripped him for it.  [I think he meant to say that a political columnist for the “New Republic” named Michael Crowley—who went to Yale—ripped him for it.]  Now Crichton has a new book, in which he’s created a minor character who is a child rapist, and [delete the “and”] described as a political columnist who went to Yale, and who’s name Mick Crowley [either “who’s named Mick Crowley” or “whose name is Mick Crowley.” Preferably the latter].  Crichton’s publisher, Harper Collins, is owned by Rupert Murdoch. 

The real Michael Crowley is understandably upset that Crichton gave his name to a child rapist, but look, Mr. Crowley, it could have been worst [worse], Crichton could have used your name for a character based on himself.”

By Keith Olbermann, Anchor, Countdown

And that’s just two paragraphs!

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard radio commercials proclaim that each item/store/dish is more [insert adjective here] than the next! Come on! Did you listen to what that said? It said they get worse as they go! When in reality, they meant to say that that each is better than the last! People got paid big bucks to come up with this!

Television is even worse. I heard this weekend about people at the scene of a fire, who (according to the reporter) “watched the firefighters battle the blaze for more than an hour from a few blocks away.” Gee, maybe it would have been more effective if the firefighters had been closer…

My son and I also enjoyed the story reported on the news a few months ago about the two would-be robbers who “found themselves staring down the barrel of an off-duty Ft. Worth police officer.”

In my job, I am constantly faced with the expectation that I will make sense of sentences such as these:

 “The fact that so many SIS systems have not reported overall SIL levels we believe is indicative of the realization that the testing requirements to achieve the target SIL levels.”

“It appears that any capital project was not included in maintenance costs for either turnaround or non-turnaround costs.”

 “To measure effectively, one must make timely measurements that allow adjustments between measurements that affect the measures.”

 And then there are the ever-popular circular sentences, such as, “If you have separated the alarms such that only alarms that at necessary for the area the operator is responsible for in order to reduce the alarms presented to the operator then answer Y=yes to this question.”

These sentences are submitted to me by college-educated men with advanced degrees, who generally claim that English is their native language.

Please, people—PROOFREAD!

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