Many proofreading exercises make the mistake of confronting the trainee proof reader with errors in abundance. Every other line contains a spelling error, grammatical gaffe, or stylistic slip-up. In reality, however, you’re unlikely to find more than two or three errors in any document, particularly if said document has been produced by professional page make-up artists or seasoned typesetters. These overloaded proofreading exercises give the nascent proof reader a false expectation when they launch their careers; when they don’t find themselves pinpointing ten to twenty errors per page, they think they must have missed something and self-doubt begins to set in.
So, the following piece of copy contains just three errors. As with any proofreading exercise, you may find the occasional grammatically suspect clause or a phrase that makes you a little queasy. However, it’s important to remember that your job as a proof reader is to find literal errors and eradicate any lack of clarity, not to indulge in hair-splitting over the occasional split infinitive or dangling modifier.
Allow yourself no more than 10 minutes to complete this exercise.
The Proofreading Exercise
Keep Your Pet Safe from the Dangers of Heatstroke
It is now, thankfully, a widely recognised fact that dogs left alone in cars can become the tragic victim of the kind of weather that normally has most of us rejoicing. According to recent evidence, when the external temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature within a car can rise to as much as 117 degrees Fahrenheit in just one hour. For this reason, all responsible dog owners plan ahead, to make sure wherever there going provides adequate provisions for their beloved pet.
However, the emphasis on the dangers presented by leaving dogs in cars has lulled many pet owners into a false sense of security when it comes to protecting their pet from the hazards of hot weather. There is now, unfortunately, a general consensus that our pets are safe in hot weather, just so long as they are not confined to a vehicle.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether or not your dog is in a car, they are vulnerable to heatstroke if they are unable to effectively cool down. Some dogs are more prone than others. For example,
• dogs with long hair,
• thick-set and heavily muscled dogs
• very young dogs
• very old dogs.
Dogs who are suffering from a particular medical complaint or are receiving prescription medication may also be more at risk. However, it is a fact that all dogs can be potential victims of heatstroke. Luckily, there are a number of very simple things you can do to reduce the risk to you’re pet. Avoid taking your dog out in hot weather at all, if you can. Restrict their exercise time to the early morning or later in the evening, when it tends to be cooler.
If you do have to take your dog out in the heat, and you find you have to leave them in a single spot for any reason, make sure there is plenty of shade, and leave a large bowl of drinking water. Make sure the bowl has a heavy base, so that it is less likely to be accidentally spilled or knocked over entirely.
When out walking with your dog in hot weather, carry a large bottle of water with you. Periodically, you can give this water to your dog. Little and often is the key here, keeping dehydration well and truly at bay. Make sure your dog is well-groomed to remove surplus hair. You wouldn’t go out in the heat wearing an overcoat, would you?
If, for whatever reason, your dog has become exposed to excessive heat and you are concerned they may be suffering from heatstroke, here are the symptoms you need to be on the lookout for: abnormally heavy panting, excessive salivation, vividly red gums and tongue and, in very severe cases, diarrhoea and vomiting. If you encounter any of these symptoms you need to seek veterinary assistance immediately, whilst cooling your pet as much as possible with cool water (never use very cold water, as this may induce shock). But, as always, prevention is better then cure. Keep your pet out of the heat wherever possible.
The Proofreading Exercise: Solution
Did you spot out three howlers?
That’s right, the first mistake was in the opening paragraph. The sentence that reads, ‘For this reason, all responsible dog owners plan ahead, to make sure wherever there going provides adequate provisions for their beloved pet’, should read, ‘For this reason, all responsible dog owners plan ahead, to make sure wherever they’re going provides adequate provisions for their beloved pet’.
The second mistake is tucked away in the seventh paragraph. ‘Luckily, there are a number of very simple things you can do to reduce the risk to you’re pet’ should read ‘Luckily, there are a number of very simple things you can do to reduce the risk to your pet’.
And I’ve deliberately concealed the third error in the final paragraph. Were you beginning to think you’d missed it? ‘But, as always, prevention is better then cure. Keep your pet out of the heat wherever possible’ should, of course, read, ‘But, as always, prevention is better than cure. Keep your pet out of the heat wherever possible’. If you successfully completed this proofreading exercise, congratulations! You may have what it takes to become a proof reader.
About the Author:
Mike Sellars has been embroiled in the world of
proofreading for more than two decades now. For the first five years of his working life he worked as a copywriter and proof reader for a number of advertising and marketing agencies. After that he typeset and proofread for the UK’s largest online retailer. In relatively short order, he was
promoted, culminating in his appointment as Operations Manager, in which role he was responsible for hiring, developing and managing typesetters, page make-up artists and, of course, proof readers. He has distilled all this experience down into
The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course. Available for just £7.99. Click here to find out more.