Welcome to the fine focus blog!

Here's where I post the occasional musing or discussion relevant to proofreading, grammar/punctuation, common errors, and life as a freelance business professional. All writing is my own. I hope you'll find it useful!


by Allison Marullo

Published 04/12/24

Whatever kind of writer you are, and whatever type of writing you produce, if you understand that polished writing matters, then you already know that proofreading is a must before you publish or turn in your work. “But do I REALLY need to pay someone?” you might think to yourself. If you really truly care about what you’re putting out into the world, the short answer is YES. Let’s explore the reasons why.

1. Your Brain Can Play Tricks on You

One of the primary reasons why self-proofreading is ineffective is the phenomenon of familiarity breeding oversight.

What the heck does that mean?

When you've spent hours, days, or even weeks immersed in the creation of a piece of writing, you become intimately familiar with its content. As a result, your brain tends to fill in gaps, overlook errors, and gloss over inconsistencies because you already know what you intended to convey. For example, you might have intended to write the word “too,” but what you actually typed was the word “to,” or vice versa. That’s a super sneaky error that you might miss because your brain is seeing what it thinks is there or what is supposed to be there instead of what is actually there. As a result, it’s difficult to approach your work with the fresh perspective needed to identify and correct mistakes. Hiring a professional proofreader eliminates this pitfall because he or she brings objectivity and a fresh perspective.

2. You (or Your Friends) Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

If you’re being honest with yourself, do you know the proper ways of using – or not using – commas? What about semicolons? You might have heard the term “comma splice” before, but would you be able to recognize one if you saw it?

A trained, professional proofreader lives and breathes punctuation rules. We’ve studied them, been tested on them, and practice them in our work every single day. And while you might think that an errant comma here and there is no big deal, these are the little things that add up and ultimately separate amateurish-looking writing from highly polished, squeaky clean, professional-looking writing.

We proofreaders are also trained to spot formatting inconsistencies (such as a double space between words when it should be a single space), homophonic misspellings (affect vs. effect is a big one), and “one word or two” types of errors (think every day vs. everyday or any more vs. anymore). Just spending a little time on social media will tell you that these are things the average person doesn’t know and doesn’t think about. In the same way you probably wouldn’t hire just anybody to fix the electrical wiring in your home, you also should not trust a nonprofessional with the writing into which you’ve already invested so much.

3. Investing in a Proofreader Will Boost and Streamline Your Productivity

Every writer is working with a deadline, and you are probably no exception. After all the time and energy you’ve put into creating your transcript, research paper, blog post, novel, etc., you might not have the mental bandwidth to effectively pore over your work to find and correct errors. Plus, you might not have the adequate time in your schedule to do a thorough proofread before it’s time to turn in the finished product. By hiring a professional proofreader, you give yourself the opportunity to get some well-earned R&R, and you free up time in your schedule to attend to all of your other tasks and responsibilities and still meet your deadline. Win-win!

4. Hiring a Professional Proofreader Demonstrates to Your Audience That You Take Them – and Your Work – Seriously

What was it that Coco Chanel once said? "Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman." The same idea applies to your writing: Write shabbily and they remember the errors; write impeccably and they remember the piece.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that when your writing looks good, YOU look good. It’s a part of ourselves that we present to the world. And we all want to make the best possible impression, don’t we?

So when you entrust your writing to a skilled proofreader, you're not just investing in error-free content – you're investing in your professional reputation. A meticulously proofread document conveys a sense of professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment to excellence that instills confidence in your audience. Whether you're communicating with clients, colleagues, or a general audience, polished writing demonstrates respect for your audience's time and intellect, fostering trust and credibility in your brand. By partnering with a proofreader, you can elevate the caliber of your writing and position yourself as a trusted authority in your field.

5. Working with a Proofreader Demonstrates an Openness to Continuous Improvement and Growth

Most of us would agree that, as we go through our lives and our careers, learning should never stop and there is always room for improvement. For writers, hiring a proofreader shows a willingness to continually improve and grow in your writing practice. Hopefully, you are already working with an editor (a different skilled professional from a proofreader) who can offer valuable insights and suggestions for enhancing your writing style, strengthening your argumentation, and engaging your audience more effectively. When the editing stage is completed, going the extra step of hiring a proofreader to clean up your final draft before it gets submitted for publication can take your learning even further so that your growth and development as a writer will constantly be on an upward trajectory. Then, as time goes on, you will cultivate a body of work that reflects your evolving expertise and professionalism.


In conclusion, while the temptation to proofread your own work may at first seem like a practical solution, the reality is that hiring a proofreader is a strategic investment that yields tangible benefits for your writing and professional reputation. From enhancing objectivity and attention to detail to saving time and fostering continuous improvement, a skilled proofreader plays a pivotal role in elevating the caliber of your content and positioning you as a respected authority in your field. By recognizing the value of professional proofreading and investing in the expertise of a skilled editor, you can confidently deliver writing that commands attention, inspires trust, and drives results.