If it sounds like I hammer the anvil about simple errors, it is because 99% of all errors in writing are simple to fix. But, that’s also the reason that simple errors on your paper give such a bad impression. As a professor, I see errors on papers that could have been easily caught by simply proofreading the paper. Unfortunately, students spend thousands of dollars on classes but little time perfecting their papers.

Let me be really honest now – I hate proofreading my own papers. H.A.T.E it. Usually, I end up just skimming the text for any obvious mistakes, which doesn’t really do the trick. What’s worse is that spell checkers and word processing “proofreaders” fail to catch many errors.

Spell Check Fail

Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar wrote a funny poem called “Candidate for a Pullet Surprise”. Read it and see if you notice anything … wrong.

Candidate for a Pullet Surprise 

by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar

I have a spelling checker,
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it’s weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when eye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o’er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore a veiling checker’s
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if we’re lacks oar have a laps,
We wood bee maid too wine.

Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know fault’s with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.

Now spelling does knot phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped word’s fare as hear.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should bee proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaw’s are knot aloud.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting want too pleas.

 A Revelation

The first time I saw this poem was on a syllabus during my graduate program. Until then, I had mistakenly relied on my computer to do my dirty work. Not good. So, to illustrate my point, this morning I put this poem into Apple’s Pages program to see if it would catch any of the mistakes. The result? It did not catch a single thing wrong with this poemBecause Pages is my standard writing software, I shed a single tear and began looking for something better.

Grammarly: Proofreader on Steroids!

Though is not a word processor, it is like a spellchecker on steroids. So I did what any well-intentioned mammal would do and put the “Candidate for a Pullet Surprise” into Grammarly. The results were impressive. Grammarly found 23 errors, including a possible plagiarism error – which is correct!

Results of Grammarly Experiment

If you hate proofreading, don’t settle on turning in sloppy work. Be innovative, search for solutions like to lift that burden for you so that you can continue on in your creativity!


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