Professor Proof’s Tips

Stuck? We are on hand to help!

Prof Proof’s Punctuation Tip of the Week.

Having trouble with your colon?  It’s not a doctor you need, but Prof Proof’s easy-to-follow punctuation tip of the week which sorts your apostrophes from your commas.

Did you know that it’s [it + apostrophe s] is short for it is ?

So:  It’s a long time since Prof Proof went out on a Saturday night as he has been so busy reading assignments.

Prof Proof’s Spell of the Week

Each week, Prof Proof will focus on a common spelling mistake.

Did you know that their always means belonging to them ?

So:  The students had forgotten to hand in their assignments to Prof Proof.

[their = belonging to them. Literally: The students had forgotten to hand in the assignments belonging to them to Prof Proof].

Prof Proof’s Grammar Guide

Here are some grammatical rules from the Prof.

Did you know: the is called the ‘definite article’ in English and a is called the ‘indefinite article’?  Both go with nouns (put simply, the names of people, objects or qualities).

Using the is ‘definite’ because the writer assumes that the reader knows what is being written about.

The refers to the immediate situation or to someone’s general knowledge: Have you seen the student? In the First World War…


The can refer back to another noun:  She bought a bike and a scooter but she used the bike more often.


The can refer forward to a noun: I’ve always needed the help of Proof Personal.


The can refer to organisations or institutions that we use from time to time or attend or observe: I went to the theatre; I watched the news.

Using A is ‘indefinite’ because the writer does not assume that the reader knows what is being written about.

A student arrived (the reader needs to be told who the student is).


A can also be used to express a general condition or quantity: I’m training to be a proof reader; a hundred; five times a day.

Remember: A becomes an before a word beginning with a vowel or some words beginning with the letter h: an orange; an hotel; an historical site, although some writers regard the use of an before words beginning with the letter h as old-fashioned.

(With thanks to David Crystal: ‘Rediscover Grammar’.)

Get yourself a proof buddy

Recommend a buddy.  If your buddy uses our service and mentions you by name, Prof Proof will give you £5 discount off your next proof reading request.

Monthly free draw

On the last day of the month, you will be automatically entered into a free draw if you have used Proof Personal during that month.  Prof Proof will give the lucky winner a voucher to the value of £20 towards future proof reading services.

Answer to Prof Proof’s Proof Reading Challenge

Remember the paragraph with mistakes in Prof Proof’s Challenge? The Prof wanted to know how many mistakes you could spot compared to Word’s Spelling and Grammar check.  Here it is again, followed by the corrected version .  How did you do?

It was a cold when the Professor set off of from his warm lecture theatre. He could wait to read his student’s work. They had all done we’ll but Proof Personnel knew that there would be sum spelling mistake to correct and she could weight to find them. Nothing like a good session off finding arrows, he said allowed it’s strange who other people do find it as excited as I do.  The prospect filled her with a warm glow as he opened his dormouse.  How his excitement was short.  As they looked thorough the assignations on his pea sea, Proof Prof could find a single arrow.  Sudden the scream on her pee see flickered and instead of the students assignments they was a massage: Got hear first Prof – a Proof Personal proof reader.  Prof Proof was so disarranged.  He went too bad with the throat that at least today there wouldn’t be more students who need his helping.

It was a cold night when the Professor set off from his warm lecture theatre.  He couldn’t wait to read his students’ work.  They had all done well but Prof Proof knew that there would be some spelling mistakes to correct and he couldn’t wait to find them. ‘Nothing like a good session of finding errors,’ he said aloud.  ‘It’s strange how other people don’t find it as exciting as I do.’  The prospect filled him with a warm glow as he opened his door.  But his excitement was short-lived.  As he looked through the assignments on his PC, Prof Proof couldn’t find a single error.  Suddenly, the screen on his PC flickered and instead of the students’ assignments there was a message: ‘Got here first, Prof – a Proof Personal proof reader.’  Prof Proof was so distraught.  He went to bed with the thought that at least tomorrow there would be more students who needed his help.

How many errors did you find?  Word’s spelling and grammar check found none. One of our expert proof readers went through the passage and found 50 mistakes!

50/50 Excellent – have you ever thought of being a proof reader?

45+ Very Good – only 10% of your writing is likely to be inaccurate.

40+ Good – but not good enough!  20% of your written work is likely to be inaccurate.

35+ Only Satisfactory – 30% of your written work is likely to be inaccurate.

30+ Poor – 40% of your writing is likely to be inaccurate.

25+ Inadequate – 50% of your writing is likely to be inaccurate.