Monday, 5 October 2009

Help! I Can't Stop Proofreading

There are a number of things of good things that writing has brought to my life, like providing a sense of purpose and improving my ability to empathise in everyday situations. Unfortunately, it seems that as my writing gets better, so my intolerance to other people's bad writing gets worse. This occasionally manifests with me closing a blog page or putting down a book with a snort after just a few sentences, but mostly it comes out in the form of proofreading.

Signs, newspapers, websites, pizza leaflets - nothing is safe from my internal monitor. Half the time, I don't even consciously know I'm doing it - I stood in front of a printed notice in our staff restaurant the other day, reading and re-reading it until I could see the error that I'd spotted out of the corner of my eye. It's surprising that I manage to cross the road in one piece, given the attention I lavish on misspelt or wrongly punctuated signs on the side of passing vans.

Bad English is everywhere, but it seems that once you notice that, there's no going back. I haven't reached Lynne Truss levels of angst yet, but give me time.

(Oh, and I thought that the word "proofreading" was hyphenated, but it's not. Always something new to learn about the English language...)

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