3 examples of why proofreading is so important

I’ve been doing a lot of proofreading recently, on a variety of topics. One of my clients writes business tenders and he gets me to check them all over before they’re submitted – when competition for a contract is tough, it could be the one or two small typos that slip through that make all the difference. Another client is an aspiring author, and I have been proofreading his first three chapters before he sends them off to publishers – again they could be rejected if there are spelling mistakes or poor grammar. Most of the errors I pick up are fairly unexciting, but there have been a few high profile ones recently that bring home just how important proofreading really is. I hope the following will bring a smile to your face – and also make you double check your work from now on (or, better still, send it to me!)

One of the most high-profile typos in recent months has to be the “ground black people” in an Australian cookbook. The phrase, which of course should have been “ground black pepper”, appeared in The Pasta Bible and led to all 7,000 copies being destroyed, at a cost of over $AU20,000! Amazingly, the Head of Publishing at Penguin Australia defended the proofreader responsible for  letting the error through, saying that they would have been “concentrating on checking quantities, a common source of error in cookbooks” and that as almost every page would have included ground black pepper as an ingredient, he saw this as “quite forgivable”. Not so forgivable when it was an expensive error that caused a lot of offence too …

This next error was spotted in Birmingham by 4Networking member Richard Heathcote. Perhaps the error is intentional and aimed at getting people to talk about it – in which case it’s certainly worked. Mind you, I think I’d be wary about buying a property built by a company who apparently show so little attention to detail …

Apparently, the building opposite had an identical poster but with “appartment” instead of “aptartment” …. and that apostrophe shouldn’t be there, either!

Finally, an error closer to home (for me anyway) that appeared in the Oxford Mail – a newspaper that is no slouch when it comes to typos. This one is probably one of its best/worst though, depending on how you view it. Check out the entry for March 2008 … Now I know local councils come in for a lot of abuse, but maybe this is going a step too far?!


  1. I use Digg to find stories all the time. It’s great when you don’t have anything else to write about. Nice list.

  2. found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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