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Posted on Apr 23, 2007 in Writing | 1 comment

Proofing versus Reading

Proofing versus Reading


There is no denying it, I’m not finding proof reading very easy. Obviously, I can’t for a minute suggest that reading my own book is dull, but proof reading is very dull. Trouble is, its a weird mix of reading and parsing. You have to pay very close attention to every word, whilst at the same time keeping an eye on the flow. Before you know it, you are reading and not proofing and you have to start the whole page again.

This is best explained with this oft quoted example:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in
waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist
and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can
sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed
ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

This is exactly what happens when you proof read. You simply don’t notice mistakes. Your brain can replace entire incorrect wards with the correct ones without you noticing.*

And, to put no to fine a point on it, that makes it far harder to proof-read than you imagine. I’m sure you can get good at it. But I’m only on page 59 and its going very slowly. Still, I’ll get there.

Website of the day:
Great photos, lovely implementation.

Track of the day:
Well, the randomiser was kind today, some real crackers, Shangri-La by That Petrol Emotion gets an honorable mention but the standout of the night was surely One Step Beyond by Madness. Suddenly I was 12 again. Top. Another point of note is that the new laptop can drive my Sennheisers far better than the old one. Volume, at last!
(I’ll try and get that last.fm recent tracks thing integrated with the blog something soon)

* see what I did there?

1 Comment

  1. Interesting test, linked to your (apocryphal) Cambridge Uni example:

    I worte some qciuk and dtriy prel to tset the theroy that its the shape of the words that cunot. Pretty raadeble. On the ohter hand, not vrey mnay lettres get seihctwd anroud, so of cuorse its gniog to be pertty raedable. Mbaye if I don’t liimt each ouptut wrod to the origianl chraacters:

    I woete ssve qwksk aad dkziy pvsl to tmzt the tlrrzy tiat its tte sdmge of tie wozds tixt cnoxt. Pzvlfy rznhmtfe. On tte ofhzr hrxd, nwt vnvy mrry laffmrs gut smhbskrd aczvvd, so of cewrwe ihs gefng to be pmxfty rsrfetbe. Mnjie if I dun’t ldatt ermh ovkqvt wxnd to tke ocdpixml cderxebxxs.

    The latter is a lot harder to read, even though the words are still the same shape.

    Aptropso of prtty much nithign, bnut interesting I thought.*

    * that’s not meant to a Popesian example, just an uncorrected version of my usual bad typing.

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