Exampled by Professionals

“‘I was replacing the joists in the floor when I noticed a slight depression—it appeared to be filled in with the foundations of the house,’ Colin Steer told the London Telegraph. The discovery has led Sheer to explore the history of his property, located in the city of Plymouth, near the south coast of Devon, England.”

It doesn’t take a professional proofreader to notice the error in the paragraph above. Many writers pride themselves on writing quality fiction, but when it comes to writing nonfiction, the main rule of thumb is to have all of the facts straight before getting the piece published.

In the paragraph above, the article’s author, Eric Pfeiffer, a reporter who blogs for Yahoo! News, decided to switch the home owner’s name with another that had come to mind, likely out of Sheer brilliance. It wasn’t enough to see the owner’s name in the previous sentence, apparently.

This is one of the many errors found in the work of a writer. There are many other errors out there which are just as tragic when it comes to progressing a story, in fiction as well as nonfiction.

As with this error, which was likely unintentionally made, it takes more than spellcheck to get the job of writing — and editing — completed to a result of satisfaction.

It is becoming more common for reporters to simply Vlog (video blog) about an incident, and one of the reasons appears quite obvious.

If you would like to have some proofreading fun, see if you can spot the other errors in this piece of writing.

Full article: Medieval well discovered beneath couple’s living room | The Sideshow – Yahoo! News


In an article by Justin Hyde, for the Yahoo! Autos blog Motoramic, it’s obvious that the appearance of the vehicle likely took value from his writing when he wrote the following bit.

“But after leaving office and some changes in his personal life, Schwarzenegger seems to be exploring the world of high-end machinery again; we caught him earlier thisy month checking out the field at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. ”

Professional writers should know better than to begin a sentence with a conjunction when it comes to professional style and quality, but some just do not seem to mind a bit.

Spellcheck would have been useful here. Unless it also suggested to include the word ‘making’ so readers are not meant to believe that Schwarzenegger left changes in his life, or perhaps that he left his life altogether, it would have only corrected one of the errors shown.

Full article: Arnold Schwarzenegger gets the keys to a $250,000 Mercedes Unimog | Motoramic – Yahoo! Autos


Someone may need to suggest to Yahoo! News, or their blogging department at least, that proofreaders and editors would likely help in situations similar to these. So many other articles have been published with a variety of errors included that it makes it hard to believe that these ‘professionals’ should be considered professionals at all.

Perhaps it is meant to demonstrate that the quality and style of a writer are allowed to be less than professional once the writer has made a name for themselves.

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11 thoughts on “Exampled by Professionals

    • Editors are only good when they’re doing the job they’re paid to do. Some of them seem to be relaxed when it comes to the rules of writing, standards, and following through. Many of them would much rather use their own judgement to handle the situation, even when the guidelines have been in place for quite some time.

      Typing is fairly quicker than freehand. While it may get the job done faster, I would also think that it leaves plenty of room for more errors to be made with the addition of so many thoughts wandering one’s mind while the typing is being done. It’s quite easy to get distracted (Oh look! – A cookie!) or have a finger slip.

      Thank you.

  1. British newspapers used to set the standard on this, the broadsheets anyway. No longer can that be said. They are all terrible and proof reading seems to have flown out of the window when they moved from Fleet Street.
    What I find aggravating is that even when I have read and read and read, I am still inclined to miss things, especially on screen.
    I use the spell checker, but it can be more of a nuisance than a help in some situations. I am inclined to break rules – such as beginning sentences with conjunctions or using what I recently learned was a comma splice – which the spell check dislikes. I read aloud, which I find works for me to some extent. I read several times for different reasons, my feeble brain unable to catch everything at once. For sense, for typos, for emphasis, for echo words, for viewpoint, and often for word order and style.
    Even after all that, there is no substitute for printing out and letting someone else take a look. Two sets of eyes are better than one.

    • Mistakes will always arise. We’re only human. The point is to make it as best as the writer can make it. Some writers tend to get lazy once they’ve become known.

      British spellings I also admire, but U.S. dictionaries love the Zs over the Ss in words like ‘realize’. In some cases, I think Britain should be setting the standards.

      We all bend or break rules, but to do so knowingly and with purpose makes all the difference. I’m guilty, more often than not, of not reading aloud. I do occasionally, though it’s not too often; unless, I’m reading what I’ve found to someone else who may find it interesting.

      • I miss too much if I don’t read aloud. I read fast – which is great when it comes to reading for pleasure, but the eye is too quick to pick up tiny typos. Reading aloud slows me a little and I’m more inclined to see them. And I particularly hate it when I repeat the sound of a word, echo something without noticing. That can stop a reader in their tracks, but I might miss it if I don’t hear the echo. Again better read aloud.

      • As I usually say: If it works, use it.

        I’ve done quite a bit of research on proofreading and editing and it sometimes reaches the point of being unable to turn it off while I’m reading. Being unable to turn off the editor and proofreader while writing is a pain, but I feel that both help to make the writing that much better. So, if it works out for you, then run with it. When it stops working, plug it back in or change the batteries.

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