It cannot be denied that English is a very difficult language to spell, as our proofreading course students know, only too well.
For one thing, it contains lots of homophones, words that sound the same but are spelt differently. These words also have different meanings.
The most common examples are ‘hear’ and ‘here’, ‘there’ and ‘their’. A less common example might be ‘horse’ and ‘hoarse’. We could go on …
Also, our proofreading course graduates tell us it is not uncommon to find ‘their’ spelt ‘thier’.
Many people have a problem with these small words when it comes to writing them. Even those working within publishing are often at pains to check their spelling. In the olden days, they would resort to a dictionary. These days, they have at their disposal a spell checker.
Spell checkers are a very useful tool, as they not only flag up a spelling mistake, but they also correct it for you. So, when I keyed in ‘thier’, it corrected it for me. It remains underscored in red. So far, so good. However, unfortunately, spell checkers are of limited value.
This is because they can only correct the word itself and not the context in which it appears.
So, using the above examples, if you keyed in ‘here’ instead of ‘hear’, your spell checker would ignore it, as both are bona fide words spelt correctly. You can try this yourself.
Similarly, if you inserted an extra word into a sentence or left an essential word out, chances are that your spell checker would not correct it. You can try this one, as well.
Try keying in ‘It has been a nice day today and I hope will be nice again tomorrow.’ Did you spot the tiny typo? My spell checker didn’t.
This is where our proofreading course comes in handy, as it goes way beyond what a spell checker can offer you.
Over the last few years, there has been a proliferation of proofreading courses, many in the private sector, often aimed at the publishing profession but not exclusively so.
For instance, students writing up their dissertations would also benefit from doing one of these courses.
For those who cannot afford to take time off to attend such a course, or who do not particularly want to do so, instead could opt for a distance learning proofreading course
Many people prefer these, as they are more flexible and you can work at your own pace.
See our proofreading courses