Monday, 10 September 2012

What Happened to Proof Readers?

Good question

Especially in newspaper headlines. You've seen them, those silly statements and awful spelling. Oh, I know it's all about the pressure of deadlines. Or as my friend used to say, that's all for the gnus, now come the head lions! (Sorry about that.)

London couple slain. Police suspect homicide
(They may be on to something!)
Red Tape holds up new bridges
(You mean there's something stronger than Duct Tape?)
 War dims hope for peace
(I can see where it might have that effect!) 
Local high school dropouts cut in half      
(Chainsaw Massacre all over again!)

Well, we may not be journalists, but we also have to watch out for those tricky dangling modifiers. They can sneak into our work without us being aware. I've caught myself time and again.  An example (I didn't write,) Roaring down the highway with screeching tyres, the woman just managed to step out of the way.

Thankfully I found my creative mistakes before the editor or final proof reader did. And I get chills to think of them slipping by unnoticed until some reader points them out, sigh! Still, they make for entertaining reading when you discover someone else's mistakes.

Found on church bulletin boards, these items badly needed proof reading:
* Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
* The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
* The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict
*.For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
* At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’  Come early and listen to our choir practice.
* The Rector will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing: ‘Break Forth Into Joy.’
* During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J. F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
* Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24th in the church.  So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
* The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment, and gracious hostility.
* Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – Prayer and medication to follow.
* Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I Will Not Pass This Way Again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

Rita Stella Galieh is currently working on another manuscript and sincerely hopes she will not fall into any of the above humbling traps.


  1. So funny Rita - and so ME. I am the Queen of this stuff. Good to know I'm not alone.

    PS: My personal pre-edit favorite - I had a character take a 'beef' from the fridge (should have been a beer). And there are many, many more. Lol.

    1. A beef's not so bad Rose, especially if he's a strong, Aussie type! My husband wonders why I squeal when reading my own stuff. It's shocking to find such silly errors, but at least it's a great relief when you do!

  2. Thanks Ritah. A great giggle to start the day. :) It's so easy to find these kinds of mistakes, in some ways it's rather unfortunate!

    1. Much better when we find our own, isn't it Amanda? Even so there are still sneaky mistakes that hide themselves from us, so thankfully the proof reader wears special mistake-catching specs!!!

  3. Hi Rita,
    Those are hilarious.
    I saw another church bulletin one once - "In honour of harvest thanksgiving, Sister Brown will lay two fresh eggs on the altar."
    Or this sign, "Giant Kid's Playground." Nobody was there, so they must have all been frightened of the giant kid.
    We rely on our good proofreaders.

    1. Oh dear, I nearly got the hiccups after that one, Paula!

  4. Hilarious post, Rita :) I've seen that church bulletin board list before, but it never fails to extract a laugh from me.

    I'm doing an editing course at present and our teacher said it is now common for the copyediting and proofreading to be done in conjunction. Unfortunately this means the proofreading is often not done as thoroughly as it should, so we might be seeing more of these types of errors, rather than less!

    1. Maybe it's a matter of money combining the two? Anyway Helen, congrats on taking on that particular course.

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    1. Thanks James. We all take part in this blog and it is interesting to read everyone's point of view.

  6. Funny you should add that humorous church bulletin list, Rita. I've been asked to proof read our church's weekly news. So I guess that means any new errors will be my fault.
    Oh well... lol. You've got to blame someone! (Just kidding).
    Fresh eyes are always good when someone else has poured over a piece of writing and is too close. Let's hope my eyes are fresh enough for the bulletin!
    Dotti :)

    1. That's right, Dottie. Don't do if you're tired. My hubby picked up an stupid error in my scripting of our weekly radio program. I'd have felt awful if it had gone to air! Still, it's the printed words that are worse because other folk can see clearer than we can with our own stuff.

  7. Loved those church bulletins Rita. And I loved the pic of the kitten on your post. Thanks for sharing! Been chuckling over them and thank you for providing a good laugh and some good thoughts too.

    1. Got to have a laugh occasionally, Anusha... release the endorphins and makes us feel good.

  8. What an absolute crack up Rita. I had a good laugh.

  9. Oh I have read these Church bloopers so many times, but I always laugh heartily when I read them again! Thanks for the great advice. Blessings, Helen.

  10. Have you read any of the medical mishaps?? it makes you wonder, where are the proof readers. Excellent Blog.