Why Proofreading Can Be Difficult

Hands up all those of you out there who have proofread a piece a work within an inch of its life only to find a big fat glasses_12x16_pastel_framed1typo once it’s been published.

You are not alone. The human brain is very good at playing tricks on us, making us believe that what we are seeing is correct even when it isn’t. And this doesn’t just happen to those who proofread their own work either. Even if you get someone else to proof your work, mistakes can slip through.


In a word – Typoglycemia.

What is it? Well, have a read of the paragraph below…and trust me, you will able to read it:

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl 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. Such a cdonition is arppoiately cllaed Typoglycemia.

There you go, that goes some way to explaining why many typos slip through the proofreading barrier. Of course there are some errors that can’t be explained by this phenomenon such as those identified in my earlier blog Proofreading Blunders. They a simple case of human carelessness.

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Claire Jarrett on 03.23.09 at 5:13 pm

Yep, certainly done this many a time, it’s very annoying!

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