A Humorous Look at The Importance of Punctuation

Punctuation is importantPunctuation is not really that important, right?  WRONG!  It’s very important, and a tiny, misplaced comma or question mark can cost millions of dollars or break someone’s heart. That’s why using native English proofreading services before publishing your work is so important.

Not convinced?

Take a look at some of these great examples of punctuation mistakes.  If you didn’t previously recognize the importance of punctuation, you will after seeing these!

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How to Proofread in 5 Easy Steps

Please drive safetyIf you’re wondering how to proofread, this is certainly the article for you.  We’re going to reveal the five basic steps of proofreading and give you hints and tips for making sure that your final written English is error free.

Everyone knows that written English should be free of grammatical and spelling errors, and everyone knows the importance of proofreading.  However, not everyone knows how to proofread and when it comes to the boring task of checking a document for mistakes, many people choose to ditch the proofreading process or engage in a half-hearted attempt to find errors.  

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The Definitive Guide to Cockney Rhyming Slang

Dog and bone. Cockney rhyming slang.Cockney Rhyming Slang is a part of the English language that many English learners may not be familiar with.  In English, a slang word is a word that isn’t really considered to be standard English but is something that many people continue to use nonetheless.

Cockney rhyming slang first started to appear on the streets of the East End of London during the 19th century and was primarily used as a secret language through which criminals could communicate with one another without being understood by the police.  However, despite its origins, it has remained popular with all people in that area of the country and is still very much in use today.  People who use these slang expressions generally substitute one word with two or more words that rhyme with the original word to speak in some type of code.  Only people who are familiar with Cockney Rhyming Slang would be able to truly understand what the person is actually talking about.

Confused?  Let’s have a bit of fun.

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Proofreading Marks

If life hands you melons, hire a proofreader

Proofreading marks are used by proofreaders and editors to indicate an error in the copy.  The nature of the mark is directly related to the type of error that has been produced, and proofreaders and editors will place the proofreading mark in the line of text where the error takes place.

Depending on the nature of the editing services, the proofreader will then either write a correction in the margin or will write a correction directly above the sentence.

You can read more about what proofreaders do in our guide to the differences between editing and proofreading.

We have a free guide to basic proofreading marks available, and you can download and print the PDF version from our account on Scribd:

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Idioms in Music: Lady Gaga Lyrics Explained

Picture of Lady Gaga wearing meatIf you’re teaching or learning English, one way to keep things interesting is to look at the use of idioms in music.  One musician who certainly knows how to rock idioms is Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga shocked the world in 2011 when she appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards wearing a dress made of meat… yuk!  Love her or loathe her, her songs can be actually very useful if you are learning English as a second language. In this article, we take a look at the idioms contained within some of Lady Gaga’s most popular songs and tell you exactly what they mean.

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10 Very Funny Restaurant Signs

Sign reads: "eat here and get gas"We love receiving links to funny bloopers. These funny restaurant signs were sent in from a professor of English who uses them in her class.

The following funny restaurant and hotel signs are real. We think the people who wrote these are in desperate need of our professional proofreading services!

P.S. If you like these, you’ll love our President Bush Bloopers.

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Introductory Phrases. What Are They and Why Should You Care?

Last week we promised to share some of our proofreader’s tricks of the trade and, because we’re great at keeping promises, here they are. Again we’re looking at the common English errors that proofreaders will look for when they are studying a document. This week we’re going to stick with the comma theme and explore another one of the errors that seem to appear regularly: failing to use a comma after introductory phrases or words.

Read moreIntroductory Phrases. What Are They and Why Should You Care?

How a Trip to Starbucks Can Make you an Expert Proofreader

If life hands you melons, hire a proofreader

Many people rely on a strong cup of coffee to get them through the morning, but new research suggests that a daily fix of caffeine can actually help to improve your proofreading skills.

According to Tad Brunye, a senior cognitive scientist at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusets, caffeine can enhance some of the complex mental processes involved with the brain’s use of the right hemisphere, an area associated with written and spoken language. You can learn more about the brain’s role in proofreading in our guide to why proofreading is difficult.

His study, which was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, involved two separate experiments that were aimed to assess the differences that regular consumption of caffeine appeared to have on an individual’s ability to spot mistakes. In the first experiment, 36 college students who consumed a moderate amount of caffeine on a regular basis were asked to complete a language test within which they were requested to read a one-page news story that contained a number of spelling and grammatical errors. The participants were then asked to identify and correct as many mistakes as they could within a five-minute period. Forty-five minutes prior to participating in the test, each student was provided with a randomly distributed capsule that contained one of four caffeine supplements none, 100 milligrams (the amount found in 8-ounces brewed coffee), 200 milligrams (found in 16-ounces coffee), or 400 milligrams (found in 20-ounces of coffee).

In the second experiment, the test was completed with 38 college students who consumed higher levels of caffeine on a regular basis with each of them having a daily intake of at least 300 milligrams.

The results revealed that caffeine consumption did not make a difference in the student’s ability to identify spelling mistakes but it did make a difference in their ability to detect and rectify “complex global errors,” such as mistakes involving subject-verb agreement and verb tense. According to the research findings, the low-caffeine students were the most effective at locating and correcting grammatical problems, while the highly caffeinated students needed an extra 400-milligram boost to achieve similar detection rates.

Commenting on the results, Brunye said: “Individuals who habitually consume caffeine on a daily basis are less likely to benefit from caffeine’s performance advantages without upping the dose.”

So if your dissertation or thesis is due and you have a long night of proofreading ahead of you, down that cup of Java and get on with it. Either that or get in touch with the experts.