Taking Care of the Basics: proof reading matters

For this blog in our freelancer series Tony Keen from TK Proofreading is Taking Care of the Basics. Oh, and if you need a proofer and you mention this blog Tony is giving a generous 20% off his services!

Take it away Tony!


You may be great at expressing yourself in the written form, but if you can’t get the basics right nobody will take what you have to say seriously.

As a writer it really frustrates me to see the most basic of errors being made over and over again.

For those of you who struggle with certain words, the following information will prove to be useful.

Advise vs. Advice. Advise is the act of giving counsel. Advice is a recommendation.

Example sentences: The best piece of advice I was ever given was to never stop learning.

I strongly advise that you seek some help before your problems get out of hand.

Affect vs. Effect. Affect refers to causing change. Effect is the result of an action.

Example sentences: The events of the week had a clearly negative effect on him.

Ongoing protests won’t affect the staging of this weekend’s Labor Party Conference.

Its vs. It’s. Its implies possession It’s is a contraction of it is.

Example sentences: It’s pointless dwelling on things that are out of your control.

If the Federal Government had its way, internet gambling would be illegal.

Elicit vs. Illicit. Elicit means to bring out. Illicit means not legally permitted.

Example sentences: It took several hours of questioning to elicit the truth out of the suspect.

Illicit drugs are a serious problem in our society.

Complement vs. Compliment. Complement is something that adds to something. Compliment is something nice someone says about you.

Example sentences: I am feeling really good about myself today because I received a compliment about my new hairstyle.

Dry white wine is the perfect complement to a meal featuring fish.

Literally vs. Figuratively. Literally is when something actually occurs. Figuratively means as a figure of speech.

Example sentences: I am figuratively on cloud nine after landing my dream job.

I literally jumped for joy when West Coast won the premiership in 2006.

Whose vs. Who’s. Whose is the possessive form of who. Who’s is a contraction of who is.

Example sentences: Authorities don’t know who’s responsible for the fire that destroyed several homes over the weekend.

I’m not sure whose turn it is to mow the lawn.

Brought vs. Bought. Brought means to have taken something with you. Bought means to have purchased something.

Example sentences: I brought a nice bottle of red wine to the company Christmas party last night.

I’m looking forward to testing out the new golf clubs I bought.

Ensure vs. Insure. Ensure means to guarantee. Insure means to secure indemnity in case of loss, damage or death.

Example sentences: All businesses should insure themselves against public liability claims.

In order to ensure your business will be a success, you must learn the art of networking.

Less vs. Fewer. Less is used when talking about things that can’t be counted. Fewer is used when talking about things that can be counted.

Example sentences: In 25 words or fewer tell us why you need a holiday.

You will feel a lot better about things if your living space is less-cluttered.

Loose vs. Lose. Loose refers to something that is free from anything that binds or restrains. Lose refers to the loss of something.

Example sentences: Due to budget cuts, it’s likely that a number of people will lose their jobs.

I fell over in the middle of the street yesterday because of a loose shoelace.

The founder of TK Proofreading, Tony Keen is a qualified journalist who studied under the tutelage of respected journalism professor John Henningham. He is passionate about the written word and is dedicated to ensuring his clients get value for money. 


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