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home : columnists : columnists March 26, 2017


2/22/2017
The Proof Is in the Putting!

By Dick Wolfsie
Funny Bone


Happy 15th (fifteenth?) anniversary to Heidi. Heidi is my proofreader (proof-reader?). Everything I've written for the last 15 (fifteen?) years is first sent to her via e-mail (email?) to make sure there are no spelling or usage errors. This week she is very busy with an out of town (out-of-town?) commitment, so I'm doing my own proofing. If I said I wasn't nervous, well that would be a bald-faced (bold-faced?) lie.

Newspapers that publish my column have editors who check my work, but I wouldn't want whoever (whomever?) has that responsibility to think that on a week to week (week-to-week?) basis, I'm not a careful writer. I would be really embarrassed if they continually (continuously?) found mistakes in my column, so Heidi is a preventative (preventive?) measure to be sure I get it right.

I taught English for many years, so I know a little about grammar, but when it comes to some of the other nuances of language, I'm not sure I can pass muster (mustard?). If I have specific questions, I might check things out on the internet (Internet?). I wouldn't want to put my column on my website (Website? Web site?) unless it were error-free (error free?)

Honestly, I tend to be sloppier (more sloppy?) than I should be when I use the English language. Unless you have your own personal copy editor (copyeditor?), you won't know if you're in the mood for an ice tea or an iced tea. Or maybe some French fries (French Fries? french fries?). And when you get to the airport, you won't know whether (if?) you should check your carry-on luggage or your carryon luggage. Then when you get home from that trip and leave your suitcase on the living room floor over-night (overnight?), the next morning, you'll wonder if you are coming or going.

Heidi gives me free reign (rein? range?) with my creative ideas. And she is always consistent. She may be consistently wrong, but at least she's consistent. That's the kind of person I can depend on (upon?). She may be the best proofer in the mid-west (Mid-West? midwest? Midwest?). Some writers prefer a hands-off approach to their work, but I really need her help. I like it when she hones (homes?) in on my mistakes. I don't mind if she splits hairs (hares?).

Truth is, few people know all the do's and don'ts (dos and don'ts?) of the language. I've had discussions among (between?) a great number (amount?) of writers and they all agree you need a person with a critical eye to proof your work, although sometimes your ego can get quashed (squashed?).

I'm not implying (inferring?) that I couldn't write a column without her, but I think any disinterested (uninterested?) observer would recognize that having someone like Heidi is a slam dunk (slam-dunk?) easy decision.

Yes, I really need her. Even my wife, Mary Ellen (Mary-Ellen? Maryellen?), agrees.

Dick Wolfsie has written 12 books and has been a television personality for 30 years. His humor column appears weekly in The Times.







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