A proofreader without a vast vocabulary is at a considerable disadvantage. So, every week we’ll be introducing you to some of the more unusual words to grace the English language.
- Anguilliform: resembling an eel.
- Transpicuous: transparent.
- Logomachy: an argument about words.
This week’s tricky words.
Even exemplary proofreaders have their little blind spots. The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course provides a comprehensive list of the tricky words that can trip up even the most experienced proofreader. Here are just three of them:
- Twelfth – twelth.
- Inoculate – innoculate.
- Hierarchy – heirarchy.
This week’s proofreading exercise.
From The Awakening by Kate Chopin:
It was eleven o'clock that night when Mr. Pontellier returned from Klein's hotel. He was in an excellent humor, in high spirits, and very talkative. His entrance awoke his wife, who was in bed and fast asleep when he came in. He talked to her while he undressed, telling her anecdotes and bits of news and gossip that he had gathered during the day. From his trousers pockets he took a fistful of crumpled bank notes and a good deal of silver coin, which he piled on the bureau indiscriminately with keys, knife, handkerchief, and whatever else happened to be in his pockets. She was overcome with sleep, and answered him with little half utterances.
He though it very discouraging that his wife, who was the sole object of his existence, evinced so little interest in things which concerned him, and valued so little his conversation.
Mr. Pontellier had forgotten the bonbons and peanuts for the boys. Notwithstanding he loved them very much, and went into the ajoining room where they slept to take a look at them and make sure that they were resting comfortably. The result of his investigation was far from satisfactory. He turned and shifted the youngsters about in bed. One of them began to kick and talk about a basket full of crabs.
Mr. Pontellier returned to his wife with the information that Raoul had a high fever and needed looking after. Then he lit a cigar and went and sat near the open door to smoke it.
Mrs. Pontellier was quite sure Raoul had no fever. He had gone to bed perfectly well, she said, and nothing had ailed him all day. Mr. Pontellier was too well acquainted with fever symptoms to be mistaken. He assured her the child was consuming at that moment in the next room.
He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother's place to look after children, whose on earth was it? He himself had his hands full with his brokerage business. He could not be in two places at once; making a living for his family on the street, and staying at home to see that no harm befell them. He talked in a monotonous, insistent way.
Mrs. Pontelier sprang out of bed and went into the next room. She soon came back and sat on the edge of the bed, leaning her head down on the pillow. She said nothing, and refused to answer her husband when he questioned her. When his cigar was smoked out he went to bed, and in half a minute he was fast asleep.
- In the first paragraph, “his trousers pockets” may sound a little odd to the modern ear but is, in fact, correct. Likewise, “a good deal of silver coin”.
- In the second paragraph, “He though it” should be “He thought it”.
- In the third paragraph, “ajoining” should be “adjoining”.
- In the final paragraph, Pontellier has been spelled with only one ‘l’.
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I hope to see you back here, next week, for another Proofreading Course Weekly Roundup.