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All Writing Needs a Proofreader

  • Sabina Lohr
  • Insight

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When October was turning into November this year, I flipped the page on my kitchen wall calendar. One reason I had bought this calendar was because a helpful quote comes along with each new month.

The November quote was really nice – Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. Napoleon Hill was responsible for this quote, according to the calendar.

Why everything needs a proofreader - Napoleon Hill quote about strength and growth, on a calendar

But wait. Hadn’t I seen this quote somewhere before?

Why, yes, I had. In fact, it seemed very familiar. I flipped the calendar back a page, to October. And there it was. Again.

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. According to the October page, Maya Angelou had authored this quote.

Why everything needs a proofreader - quote on a calendar mistakenly attributed to Maya Angelou

October and November can’t both be right. How did it happen that one quote attributed to two different people ended up on this calendar? And who is the person actually responsible for this beautiful quote?

The answer to the first question, I believe, is lack of proofreading.

All writing needs a proofreader.

Apparently no one read through this calendar as a whole to ensure that it was ready to be published. When proofreading, you need to look not only for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. You should,  if possible, read for contextual errors as well.

Sometimes material is written in technical jargon or medical terminology or written at a level so high – such as a Ph.D. dissertation – that proofreading while keeping context in mind is extremely difficult, or even impossible.

However, in other cases, like the calendar, at least a bit of attention to context can really help. A high quality of proofreading of all written text can make both the writer and the proofreader look good.

Now, the answer to the second question? The person who is really responsible for this quote is Napoleon Hill.

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Sabina Lohr is a lifelong freelancer turned entrepreneur who created World of Freelancers to help others discover how to work for themselves online and live the freelance lifestyle. She’s always really enjoyed the freedom that freelancing brings, including several years on and off of working online while traveling and living abroad.

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