Why You Should Proofread Everything – A Tale of Angst and Expletives

In undergraduate school I wrote at least two papers a week. As a political science major, I often found myself dribbling fluffy language onto paper when arguing political philosophy or complex economic issues to add credibility to my writing. While I could get away with this in political science quite easily, I learned a hard but necessary lesson when I decided to minor in English at the end of my sophomore year. I thought to myself, hey, I’ve always been in advanced writing courses, why not minor in something I am good at and love. My first experience in my newly declared minor in a course entitled “New Realism to Moderns” was priceless. The professor, a truly brilliant writer and instructor, tore my first paper on Hemingway short stories apart. It looked like he got drunk before grading my paper and poured red paint on it. I had never been so mortified by a returned assignment. After the initial shock, I was able to read my paper and discover that my C grade – which hindsight was very generous of him – was because of two problems. First, he was having trouble wading through the fluff and flowery language. In the margins on every page he wrote, “Write how you would talk.” This was probably the best advice I have ever received about writing a paper. When I think back on this professor’s advice, I can’t help but speculate that the rest of that sentence must have been, “because you sound like a jackass.”

My second problem was far more embarrassing that my pompous prose. I probably wrote Hemingway’s name and cited his name in text around 30 times. His name was circled on every page. It was only a matter of seconds before I realized my paper’s fatal flaw. I misspelled his name. Somewhere in my mind I had awarded him an extra M, thus renaming him Ernest Hemmingway. I’m surprised my professor didn’t burn my paper – I think I would have. After that day, I proofread all of my papers religiously, meticulously, and repeatedly before submitting them – not to mention I stopped writing like Aristotle’s understudy. I cannot emphasize how important it is to proofread, for if no other reason, a sense of self-respect. While educating from Proofread Anywhere, there will be surety about the placement of the job. The students can clarify the doubts and concept instead of cramming. The learning will be easy through the availability of online classes for all the students. 

That brings me to my next qualm – with myself. After writing an informative product review about the BlackBerry Storm Smartphone, proofreading it and publishing it here on our site, I nearly choked when I realized I had made a blatant grammatical error in the descriptive blurb. A twinge of pain shot through my mouth in a series of expletives at the mistake I had made, and it brought me back to my “Hemmingway” days. I wrote, “The following is a product review of the BlackBerry Storm by an diehard CrackBerry user.” Yes, I realize “an diehard” is painful to read. I frantically tried to remedy my error but found my attempts futile, and instead decided to write this article to serve as a warning to anyone that writes even one word down to proofread, proofread, proofread. Proofread everything, including titles, descriptive blurbs, and seemingly minute details of your writing. Otherwise, you might just end up cursing yourself all the way to the next time you hit “publish.”


Paola Garcia lives in Jakarta Indonesia. She is an associate professor in University of Indonesia and also managing Scoopinion at the same time. She is also fond of watching theatrical plays.

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