To proof read or not to proof read…

Two boys, two English essays to be typed and printed, only one of them on Shakespeare. 

One boy:- “Have you read it? Is it all right? Are there any spelling mistakes?” 

Other boy:- “What do you mean that’s spelt wrong?  The computer said it was right.”  Me:- “Well it’s wrong.  You haven’t checked this.  You haven’t even typed what you originally wrote.” 

Him:- “It’s too late now. It’s got to be in tomorrow.” 

Me:- ” You’ve had three weeks to do this.” 

I won.  I’ll leave you to guess which boy was which.

I spend a large chunk of my life proof reading my own and other people’s reports and I get so cross when they have obviously not checked it themselves.  I reviewed a paper for a journal last year, not something I do very often as I am out of main stream science these days.  It had been written by someone respected in his field from a large UK institution.  I eventually phoned the editor in disgust to ask why I should be checking the English and not the science.  He sighed and said that this particular individual’s papers were always like that.  Does the use of computers mean that proof reading is becoming a lost art?

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