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Common Things Proofreaders Miss (Part 3)

Check out this list of common things proofreaders miss when proofreading transcripts for court reporters.

We’re back with another installment of Common Things Proofreaders Miss!

This is becoming quite a lengthy list. For me, it’s always growing. Every time I read a transcript, I see these types of errors. The list will probably never stop growing. But that’s why there’s a solid need for eagle eyes to catch this kind of stuff in transcripts. Would you notice mistakes like these in a transcript? If you could, maybe it’s time to think about earning money for dem skillz!!

Also make sure to print this list so you can use it for future reference while you’re working.


Links to other installments of the Common Things Proofreaders Miss Series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5

breach / breech

time frame / timeframe

timeline / time line

where / were

indicted / indicated

every / ever

worker’s comp / workers’ comp / workman’s comp / workmen’s comp / workmans’ comp

severed / served

boarder / border

contact / contract

pique / peek / peak

build / billed


fourth / forth

waive / wave

maybe / may be

advise / advice

devise / device

its / it’s  — you will see this all the time in advertisements, and it never ceases to annoy me!  “It’s” means “it is.”  Say it to yourself.  If “it is” doesn’t fit — i.e, the flag in all “it is” glory – then it’s “its.”(Pun intended.)  “Its” is the possessive, which shows ownership:  valued for its color.

BONUS: Check out my book, The Look Better in Writing™ Handbook to Commonly Misused Words, available here.

What are some more common things proofreaders miss?

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  1. Hi Caitlin,

    I am very enthusiastic about this course. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I feel that I’m getting valuable information that will make proofreading much easier for me. The lists you have compiled are awesome. I read for my daughter for a few years and stumbled over quite a few of these mistakes. Now that I have printed lists handy it will make my job easier and build my confidence.

    I have read four transcripts already and I have not even left my part time job yet. I am averaging about $16.00 per hour (which is very exciting to me). I have to tell you that for the first three jobs I had to proofread the old-fashioned way on paper. I did buy an iPad and downloaded the iAnnotate app. I am just now trrying to navigate through the app and will probably have a few questions for you.

    I feel that you did a good job describing what was available to me in your course and I am very pleased so far.

    Thank you,

  2. I just found out about you and this website today. I’m still not at the fourth post on this subject, but I’m going to comment before I get there. I’m just sitting here smiling, because the mistakes on these lists? Are things I notice ALL THE TIME! Seriously.

    I’m a recovering (aka retired) lawyer – got out before I got all old and broke down. 🙂 I’m happy to have traded in the practice grind for a modest retirement income with a calmer lifestyle including control over my time vs. being a slave to the bleepin’ job. I’m doing some part time non-lawyer work to supplement my income and keep myself busy. I’ve just signed up for your free 7 day course and we’ll see if I have what it takes for this kind of work. I hope I do!

    1. too cool!!! this post brought a smile to my face. so glad you found my site 🙂

  3. For worker’s comp. which of these is correct for proofreading transcripts?

    1. Hi. Just wondering why it wouldn’t be spelled out completely — workers’ compensation?

      1. If the full word is said, “compensation” it is. If it is shortened to “comp,” that is exactly what is transcribed. Verbatim rules! 😀

  4. I was wondering on the workers’ comp as well. It doesn’t print in green from my printer, but I did notice it is slightly bolder black ink. The lists you provide are great but if I want to take a closer look at a word or phrase do you have a go-to (hopefully hyphen is correct) grammar website you recommend?

    1. I love Grammar Girl — and there’s a great book out there called “One Word, Two Words, Hyphenated?” that’s excellent, too. For court reporting grammar, I teach based on Morson’s Guide. It’s out of print and hasn’t been updated in over 20 years, but a lot of reporters depend on it so it’s the best there is at the moment.

      1. Caitlin,
        Do you know if Morson’s Guide will ever go online?

        1. It hasn’t been updated since the ’90s, so I highly doubt it. Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation by Margie Wakeman Wells is quickly taking its place, anyway. I actually recommend that textbook over Morson’s more often nowadays.

  5. Just started the course! What’s this Facebook group I keep hearing mentioned?

  6. Am loving this mini course. I’m good at proofreading, but my main concern is the electronics. My skills are not stellar. Will that impede my ability to become a proofreader? I’m certainly willing to learn, but can I get help from you, even with mundane questions?

    1. I am not the best tech support, but we have some crazy-good techies in our student community who will be more than happy to help you. iAnnotate has an awesome tutorial video section, too.

  7. Hi Caitlin, I am taking your 7 day intro course and I am thoroughly enjoying it!!! I’m getting eager to enroll in the full program as soon as I can afford it. I already have an iPad Air. My husband and I are both retired on a very tight (fixed income) budget. Can I just use my iPad (or do I also need a PC) to complete the course as well as everything necessary to run my home based transcript proofreading business? I have a tiny home office with wifi and a HP all in one printer. I pretty much stopped using my PC after I got my iPad. Do YOU ever have to resort to using a PC for anything related to your proofreading work? Because it’s so portable, my iPad is so much easier for me because of my physical disabilities.

    I’m a retired Administrative Law Judge with the Louisiana Unemployment Insurance Board of Review. I also have worked as a Workers’ Compensation Dispute Resolution Officer. I have always had a knack for proofreading. It was always fun to see how many errors I could find in “Official” State and Agency documents. Often I would make my corrections in red ink and anonymously send a copy back in reply. It was even funnier when we would get supposedly correct amended memos with a new set of errors.

    I am much older now and my eyes are not as sharp as they used to be. However, I feel that with proper training, I could make proofing transcripts into a lucrative income source.

    I thank you for all you have done to share your knowledge and experience with folks like me. I truly feel I have finally found my path to future success. God Bless You, Caitlin.

    1. Hi, Molly! Your iPad should be fine — some things, though, when you get around to the marketing portion, MAY BE EASIER with a PC, but can also be done on an iPad.
      Your work history is priceless, by the way!! There are so, SO many workers’ comp suits in the US. Your experience with it is a huge plus.

  8. I just did the test! I missed two that I didn’t even think I would get wrong. Goober! But it goes to show you that you don’t know everything. Thank you so much for this course. I am liking it so far and am eager to continue!!

    1. MERRIAM-Webster 😉 You’ll find it used both ways, but timeline is far more common — especially because Facebook spells it this way. If a reporter spells it w/ two words and likes it that way, that’s fine. But make sure they spell it that way all the time and not sometimes one word; sometimes two words. Make sense? Also, be careful with hyphens 🙂 You wrote “open compound-time line” which makes it look like compound-time is describing line. So use “–” with spaces on either side — like this — or a colon in these circumstances… but not a hyphen. When you get to the hyphen unit, it’ll be more clear 😀

      1. Thanks for the clarification. I noticed the hyphen/dash issue after I posed but didn’t have any way to edit, and I was typing on my Ipad where things get a little wonky.

  9. You have “moneys” listed but no indication as to why. Research determined that “moneys” is the older spelling, but “monies” is now more commonly used.

    Do you have a preference?

    1. Hi, 98tiger!

      Yes, that was a typo. You’re right. Moneys is the older spelling. Monies is more commonly used now. You will rarely see it in its old form. 🙂

  10. Hi Caitlin,
    I am having so much fun with this course. You have done an outstanding job with your lessons. So far I am thoroughly pleased. I can’t wait to get home from my 10 hr work day to learn more from your course. Thank you so much?

    1. So happy you’re enjoying the course! Caitlin really has done a phenomenal job. 🙂

  11. Since I haven’t made it through the rest of the things proofreaders miss, I’ll give you a few of my pet peeves – just a couple of things that have caused me to be called a “grammar nazi” and a couple other not-so-nice things on Facebook and elsewhere. (The first three of these make me insane!)

    would of – instead of would’ve (or would have)
    could of – ” ” ” could’ve (or could have)
    should of – ” ” ” should’ve (should have)
    prolly – instead of probably
    no / know / now

    I no theirs others that drives me crazy and I could of prolly given u more bit I think u get it know and if you need that in english I can translate accept I prolly don’t have two

    1. Haha!!

      These all bother me too!! I realize that the social media world is less formal, but can people at least learn how to spell?! It drives me nuts too!

  12. On workers’ comp, if someone actually said “workman’s comp,” it would have to remain in that form, correct?

    P.S. This stuff is starting to show up in my dreams! 🙂

  13. One could also substitute “it has” for it’s, correct?

    It’s been a long day.

    1. Yep! It is, it has, it was would all work for it’s. (I feel ya on the long day.)

  14. Ahh, “It’s” vs. “its.” Another example of the English language totally changing its own rules, from the apostrophe being the sign of a possesive, to the mark of a contraction. There are also cases, though rare, where “it’s” or “its” could BOTH apply, as in “Its (some THING is) cold” or “It’s cold” as in, “it is cold” (in temperature, in general). Sometimes even context isn’t helpful there, for example “When asked why he was worried about his cat, he said ‘It’s/its cold.’ ” He could be worried because his cat is cold, or he could be worried about his cat because it is cold outside. Would that be one we mark?
    I never understood why they didn’t just come up with another method for showing the contraction and use the possessive as it’s used in almost EVERY OTHER CASE. But in a language that has, what, six (I think) different pronunciations for “-ough,” why should anything make sense? LOL!

    1. Indeed!

      Yes, just mark it if you’re unsure of the context. 🙂

  15. Is it safe to assume that the spellings in green are correct?

  16. I’m a proofreader and LOVED the item with “”it’s” and “its.”

    This is one I’ve stressed in my blogs.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t think through this before they write it down. (But, then, editors and proofers wouldn’t have as much to do … so I guess it’s a good thing :->)

    Thanks for calling this one out. Bugs me, too.

  17. This worker’s comp thing still has me a little confused. I just started Jumpstart and don’t know all the lingo quite yet. What is this “green” thing everyone seems to know about? Is it an iAnnotate thing, a special ink used?

    Also, dabq asked “On workers’ comp, if someone actually said “workman’s comp,” it would have to remain in that form, correct?” and I didn’t see an answer. I was wondering the same thing. What’s the final word? Thanks!!

    1. In the list in the post above, some of the words are in green font. The ones that are in green font are the correct spellings of the words.

      Yes, if that is what the person says, then you have to leave it. You can always suggest the correct spelling in case it was transcribed wrong, but it will ultimately be left how the person said it. Hope this helps! 🙂

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