Why you need a proofreader

I think this notice about parking illustrates why it’s not a good idea to rely solely on yourself when it comes to proofreading and editing. The notice contains two errors that could, and should, have been avoided.

Can you spot what they are?

Here's proof positive that proofreading is a good idea!

The first one is that it says “No return in 3 hours”. Presumably, then, it would be alright for you to return in 2.5 hours, or in 10 minutes, or indeed in any time as long as it wasn’t exactly 3 hours.

The correct word to use is “within” rather than “in”. It’s pretty obvious what the writer meant, but I wonder if, in a court of law, someone who returned before the 3 hour period was up could successfully argue that he or she had followed the instructions to the letter?!

Perhaps more importantly, although this sort of article can come across as pedantry, I do believe we should do our best to use the correct words if we are to avoid reducing the effectiveness of the English language in the long run.

The second error is “disable bay”, which should have read “disabled bay”.

Just think: all the writer needed to was to ask one or two other people to check the copy before it went to print. Still, at least I got this article out of it!