Yesterday’s top 3 #proofreading spots from a gritty fantasy novel that were missed by Word’s spellcheck or by ProWritingAid.

The three errors below cropped up during the course of yesterday’s edit. All the errors were missed by either Word or ProWritingAid or both.



He toyed with his feather earing. ❌

He toyed with his feather earring. ✔

In the Oxford English Dictionary, ear has more than one meaning. There’s the obvious one – the body part. 👂

But there’s an agricultural meaning too.

In one sense, ‘ear’ is a verb and it means to ‘plough’ or ‘till’ the ground.

So you can see how earing is a valid form too. The OED lists an example from 2004 where R. Scrunton in ‘News from Somewhere’ said: “Some old Wiltshire characters still speak of ‘earing’ the fields.”

But was my author talking about agriculture? No. He was not. He was talking about a fashion accessory.

EARRING – 2 x R.

A very satisfying spot.



She remembered them hording cash. ❌

She remembered them hoarding cash. ✔

A ‘horde’ (noun) is a large group of people. To ‘horde’ (verb) is to gather in a large group.

Hording is an acceptable verb, as is shown in this OED example from 1907 from ‘Canadian Magazine’: “It is a daily sight to see them wandering here, there and everywhere, half-starved, half-naked, hording in wretched hovels.”

But is this what my author meant? It isn’t. He intended to use the verb ‘to hoard’ which means to collect, or to gather, or to amass.

That’s a tricksy one. Feels good to have stopped that error slipping into the finished novel.


One word: Xanadu. What’s your reference? Olivia Newton John or Samuel Taylor Coleridge?

Perhaps my author had the song stuck in his head during this scene.

Either way, Xanadu was an error which slipped into the manuscript.

My author’s character is called Xandru, not Xanadu.

79 times it was written correctly: Xandru.  ✔

But once, it slipped into the manuscript at Xanadu. ❌

This may have been caused by Word’s spellcheck prompting a change to Xanadu.

Readers would have been distracted by this if it’d remained in the novel. Who’s this new character??

Problem solved. Error fixed.


These are good examples of errors that it’s nigh on impossible to spot as author.

You’ve done your due diligence and have run your manuscript through the spellcheck.

You’ve invested in a subscription to an AI package like ProWritingAid in the hope it’ll catch what you miss.

And you’ve even done an audio pass using the ‘Read Aloud’ function – the gold standard of editorial quality assurance checks, so you’ve heard.

But you’ve still missed these three errors.

It happens. You’re so close to the text. You’re reading what you think is there rather than what’s actually there. And, your fail-safe audio check pronounced these words in a way that didn’t flag the problem.

👩‍🎓 But a professional proofreader or copy editor is trained to look out for the things that otherwise may be missed.

Would ‘earing’ and ‘hording’ spoil the immersive experience for the reader? It depends on the reader. But getting a main character’s name wrong is likely to unsettle them.

🔎 If you’d like this level of quality assurance for your novel, that’s what I’m offering. Head to my contact form. I have one more space for a 2022 edit – or get ahead and book in for 2023.

#CherryEdits #Proofreading #CopyEditing #LineEditing #AmEditing #IndieAuthors

Published by clairecherryedits Indie Fiction Specialist. Line Editing. Copy Editing. Proofreading.

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