The Importance of Proofreaders

Why does no one use proofreaders?

I have noticed more and more, recently, that people just aren’t using proofreaders. Either that, or the proofreaders are morons. Following are some examples of bad grammar and / or punctuation that I’ve noticed lately, and my thoughts on it.

There’s a restaurant opening in my office building called Delmarva Southern Cafe. It’s scheduled to open soon so the signage announcing it has been posted on the front of the building for a couple of weeks. It looks like it’s going to be a nice little restaurant, featuring some different fare from that available at the Chipotle, Five Guys, Panera, Dunkin, Pasta Mista and 7/11 – so I’m happy about it. The professionally produced sign on their door has their website address on it – “”. Did you notice what’s missing? Yup, there’s an “n” missing. This sign was not printed on an office copier; It is door sized and contains artwork and design elements and is semi-transparent. So, between the designer, the account executive, the marketing director, the printer, and the project manager – no one noticed the lack of an “n”. Why not have a proofreader take a look? And if there was a proofreader, he or she should be looking for another line of work.

Now, that example was about a small company that probably has limited resources and their main business isn’t printing or marketing or communications of any kind, so I’ll give them a small pass. However, I was in a Hilton Hotel last weekend and I turned on the television to see what was on. The in-room entertainment system had its normal rotation of ads announcing all the “just off circuit” movies I could see and how reasonably priced. Great news.

So I watched the looping ad for a few minutes and then noticed one about how it’s more affordable to rent a movie in the room then it is to take your family to a theater. That’s right, I said it’s more affordable in the room “then” it is at a theater. This is not an ad that was thrown together by a local AV guy working from his parents’ basement. This is a professionally produced ad, created by an advertising agency, working, at least indirectly, for Hilton Hotels.

Once again, this grammatical error was not caught by the designer, the account executive, the project manager, the videographer, the producer, or anyone at Hilton. What’s worse is that, because of the nature of it, it should be a relatively easy fix and STILL either no one has noticed it or no one cares to get it fixed. That’s inexcusable for a company with such vast resources.

I see misplaced apostrophes on menus quite frequently – the first section says “appetizers”, the last section says “desserts”, but the middle section says “entree’s”. Why do people think the apostrophe is necessary in “entrees” but not the other two? Oh well. I will typically give these a pass because the restaurants are owned by local people whose purpose is food – it isn’t grammar and they probably just gave a computer file to their local printer.

So, if you own a business, please – PLEASE, invest a few bucks in a proofreader. Make sure what you’re putting out for the world to see is correct. That’s the impression people will have of you – and stupid mistakes make you look stupid.