Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spot the the Mistake...

At my writing club last weekend one of the exercises was to correct all the errors (including poor sentence construction and badly worded phrases) in the following piece about a political rally:

When Tom Williamson came onto the stage the room changed atmosphere immediately. You could of heard a pin drop. Everyone's attention was riveted on the politician, they sat completely stationery and they didn't comment or even whisper; just listened.

Despite being his wife I was just as riveted as the rest of the audience. As he spoke I watched him, thinking he’s really handsome as well as smart. He wasn't holding any notes and didn't look once at the lap-top on the table, he kept eye contact with the audience the hole time.

“They want to sensor our free press” he said! “But only because they want to sensor me.”

I couldn't help myself I shouted “Here here” because he was right they had been trying to shut him up for years.

When his talk was finished I leapt off of my chair, ran to the front of the room, climbed onto the stage and threw my arms around Tom’s surprised body in a big hug.

Did you spot them all? I counted seventeen errors in just 160 words, and none of them were squiggly-underlined in either red or green by Word or Google. In other words if the author was relying on technology to correct his/her errors, then this was an epic fail.

Here's another sobering fact. All of these errors are copied from published books I have read recently. Four of them came from one particular book. It goes to show why editing is so important, and why no author should publish a book which hasn't been properly edited.

Did you spot five or more errors? Then you could of have helped out the author by highlighting necessary corrections where Word and Google failed. You don't need to be a professional editor with a degree in English Language in order to gently remind a fellow author about passive voice, using italics for reported thought, or the difference between stationary and stationery.

It's partly because we writers, who labour in splendid and lonely isolation, need to support each other in our endeavours that I have created a new Facebook group for authors who would be prepared to edit each other's work. It's called the Author's Editing Co-Operative. I hope you'll come along and join us. (Click on this link to do so.)


  1. Is it bad that I counted more than twenty things wrong???

  2. I really liked the mistake in the title of the post too! :) (I assume, however, that it was on purpose.)

  3. Wow, Gina, you are an editing machine! And Jeanna, yes, it was deliberate. Well spotted!

  4. GAH! “Could of” is one of my major pet peeves!



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