Is proofreading your own documents possible? Definitely not!


“The hamun bairn can aliutatoclmay trlsnatae txet to gvie you the cerorct minaeng, eevn tohguh the letrtes in the wrdos hvae been jmelbud up.”

The human brain can automatically translate text to give you the correct meaning, even though the letters in the words have been jumbled up.

The first paragraph demonstrates an ability of the human brain, which has been called “Typogycemia”. In fact you can “read” meaning into words that only have the correct first and last letters, but similar word lengths, provided the context is known! So is it really surprising that the following typos, all found in the SAS Opportunities group on LinkedIn, happen?

Training, not Tranning, and an extra space had been added after &.
To me PROJECTING should only be used before slides, nail, hook or vomit. PROJECT would be better. (CDISC TRAINING), COURSE WILL COVERS makes little sense to me, and ought to be replaced with (CDISC TRAINING) COURSE:. If you must include “cover”, then the correct English usage would be COURSE COVERS or COURSE WILL COVER. Also DURATION, not DRATION.
OPPORTUNITIES, not OPPORTUNITES, and this was in the SAS Opportunities group too!

This typoglycemia even appears in validated training courses. Recently I was trained to use a new insulin pump by a representative of the manufacturing company. The slides used had gone through a rigorous approval process before being accepted for use in public training. About 5 slides from the end of the presentation I noticed a typo on a slide that was only briefly shown. Professional was shown as “Profesional”, and no-one had noticed it before!

The problem is caused by the human brain “seeing” what it expects, rather than what is there. In 1981, while I was writing my doctoral thesis, I gave a draft copy of the first chapter to a colleague. I thought I had done a pretty good writing job, but my colleague found 60 spelling and grammar errors in the first 10 pages!! I realised then that I could not proofread my own writing, however I can spot typos and errors in grammar at a single glance, because of the way I was taught to spell at school, but only when I have not written the text myself.

I can provide cost-effective proof-reading of all advertising before you are embarrassed and impacted by typos! Please email me on to discuss your requirements.

Published by

Philip Holland

Owner and Administrator of Holland Numerics: Blog and Forums.

2 thoughts on “Is proofreading your own documents possible? Definitely not!”

  1. Not only can I proofread your documents and images, but I can also check your SAS programs before you publish them! It would be “unfortunate” if your new SAS idea was spoilt by a typo, or a copying omission.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.