…this’ll test a few of yeez, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… try this wee quiz from my friend, Wendy Janes… (I, of course, in all modesty, got 107 % correct… what??…whaddya mean yeez can’t exceed 100%?…who sez?)
Do you have the makings of a good proofreader?
A light-hearted quiz by Wendy Janes
Thanks to Seumas for inviting me to write a guest post on his lovely blog. In keeping with his great sense of fun, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a fun quiz.
Over the years I’ve been in touch with many proofreaders, and noticed a few common traits that we share, in addition to us all being avid readers. So, if you’re wondering whether you have the chops to join our ranks, how many of the following can you tick?:
- You loved school. A highlight of your school day was that moment when you’d completed a test and the teacher asked you to swap answers with your neighbour for marking. Oh, the anticipation of perfectly placed ticks and crosses.
- When you weren’t at school you enjoyed playing schools. Marking the work of your teddies and dolls could keep you occupied for hours.
- You are/were an English teacher, and as wonderful as those children are/were you long/ed for a bit of peace and quiet.
- When people speak to you, you correct their grammar in your head.
- You’re a picky person in the high street/shopping centre. All those misplaced apostrophes and misspelled words drive you potty.
- You read restaurant menus for typos. Once you’ve chosen your salmon in dill sauce accompanied by boiled potatoes and broccoli, rather than hand the menu back to the waiter, you’ll keep hold of it and entertain your fellow diners with the laugh-out-loud bloopers. A café in London provided my family with a full five minutes of giggles with its “Naked potatoes with choice of fillings”.
- You rarely read a book – traditionally published or self-published – without spotting one or two typos. The more famous the book, the more satisfying the find.
- You love quizzes and word puzzles. You watch all manner of quiz shows on television (my current favourite is Pointless) and regularly attend pub quizzes (my once a week habit is now down to once every three months). The day isn’t complete without a crossword.
- You have slight OCD tendencies. OCD is not a laughing matter and I do not wish to belittle anyone with this diagnosis, but at a different level, very mild OCD-type behaviours can indicate a strong preference for neatness and consistency that a good proofreader needs. My own mild tendencies include needing to eat an even number of biscuits at a sitting and using a particular mug for tea and a different one for coffee. I also have thing about “neat” numeric dates. For example, dates that are fully divisible by two, three, four or five cause me great joy, as do repeated numerals. I’d be genuinely excited to hear that someone was born on 10 October 2010 (10/10/10).
- A mindreader tells you that you’re a proofreader simply from looking at you.
OK, I might be the only one to tick this last one, but it gives me an excuse to tell a little story that makes me smile every time I remember it.
A couple of years ago I went to see Derren Brown, the fantastic illusionist and mentalist, in his London show. He said he was going to guess what job a person did just by “reading” them. Sitting in my seat in the darkened auditorium I wondered what I’d do if I caught one of the Frisbees he was throwing out to the audience. Would I step into the limelight or remain anonymous and pass the flying disc to someone else? As the plastic touched my hand I felt a jolt of excitement, jumped up from my seat, and wild horses couldn’t have stopped me from dashing up onto the stage.
A small group of us were asked to write our profession on a piece of paper and put it in a pocket. I didn’t have a pocket so I tucked my piece of paper saying “PROOFREADER” into the waistband of my trousers. He went through all the other volunteers, guessing correctly, and finally came to me. To be honest, some of his comments are now a bit of a blur, but he was witty and charming. And it turns out that I’m a closet show-off. What a thrill to stand in the spotlight! I’d not been on stage since the amateur dramatic years (maybe a post for another time…), and I loved it.
I do remember he mentioned how neat and carefully chosen my clothes were, and that I’d obviously spent time coordinating my jewellery (gulp – had he been in my bedroom earlier on when I’d been trying to decide which necklace, bracelet and earrings to wear?). With each comment he was getting closer to the right answer – working alone, stationery, pens, pencils and erasers, something to do with words. He scribbled with a black marker on a white board, and with a flourish he revealed that I was a:
I hope you’ve enjoyed my anecdote and the quiz. If you fancy a chat about words and books let’s meet via Twitter and Facebook. Also, please feel free to add your marks out of ten here, and share any other traits that you think a good proofreader needs.
..great fun, Wendy… thanks , m’Lady…
ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!