Frequently Asked Questions



  1. Why do I need proofreading anyway? Can't I just use a free online tool to check English grammar or spelling?
  2. How can I get a quote for a project?
  3. What are your proofreading rates?
  4. Your proofreading rates are lower than most. What's the catch?
  5. My text needs to be in US English, not British English. Can you cater for that?
  6. My website needs correction of errors in spelling and grammar, but I want to keep everything else, including the layout of the text, the way it is. Is this possible?
  7. I want to send you a document for proofreading. What formats do you accept?
  8. I have a complex medical text. Can you handle this?
  9. What are your terms and conditions?

Why do I need proofreading anyway? Can't I just use a free online tool to check English grammar or spelling?

Many people believe that the facilities provided by MS Word's spellchecker, or free online tools to check grammar and spelling are sufficient to ensure an error-free text.

In reality, these tools perform very poorly, for the simple reason that proper proofreading requires a human brain. Spellcheck and related software has become more sophisticated in recent years. But it is still light years away from being able to mimic the proofreading ability of a competent and experienced human.

Why? Because the English language is like no other. Rich in idiom and replete with homonyms, English is a language in which a particular word or phrase may have multiple meanings, depending on the context. If a word or phrase is used wrongly, automated spellcheckers and online grammar tools often fail abysmally at recognising the mistake, as long as the spelling of the words involved corresponds to that of real English words. The errors that occur, unnoticed by the the online grammar or spellchecking software, may range from the trivial through the comical to the downright catastrophic.

For the writer for whom English is not a native language, the problem is even more acute. If he misspells a word, word processing software such as MS Word, or free online tools which check English grammar and spelling will simply throw up suggestions as to the correct spelling. How is the non-native writer of English to know which is correct?

Sometimes, perhaps most of the time, errors in spelling, grammar or punctuation will make little difference to the reader's understanding of the text. They will, however, diminish the professional image of the writer. If the writer is an author hoping to self-publish a book, this could potentially spell the difference between success and failure. For the businessman who hopes to use a website, blog or printed material for marketing purposes, this could mean reduced sales, as the customer's impression will be that of a sloppy, ramshackle operation. Can a retailer who does not even bother to have his website checked for errors before publishing it to the Web be trusted to deliver the correct product to the correct address? The customer senses a lack of attention to detail which erodes confidence.

In certain situations, an error may have very serious consequences. A scenario in which, for example, misplaced punctuation or a grammatical error in a product manual resulted in the user of a gadget misunderstanding the instructions could have a very dangerous, even fatal outcome.

Similarly, an important business or personal letter which gave rise to misunderstanding due to the writer having relied on a free online grammar-checking tool could spell the end of a valuable commercial or personal relationship. People do not always give reasons when they suddenly cut off communication with a colleague or friend. How pathetic if a mutually rewarding relationship were to come to an end because of a misunderstanding generated by a simple mistake in English language. Such a scenario is not as rare as one might think.

CME recently did a survey of free online grammar and spellchecking tools. The results ranged from the merely amusing to the frightening. Had these been real-life scenarios, there would almost certainly have been a significant negative impact on the writer of the submitted text.

When you use a first-class proofreading service such as Correct My English, you can be confident of avoiding such pitfalls.

How can I get a quote for a project?

To get a quote, simply email us all relevant details including your name, address and telephone number, company (if appropriate), word count and a 200 word sample of your text. The sample may be sent in any format. However, if the parent text is in a specific format other than MS Word or plain text, please indicate which, and whether you require the finished document in the same format. If your text is short, (for example a CV or employment "cover letter"), simply email us the whole text. Be sure to let us know whether you require editing or simply proofreading on its own, as well as your desired completion time. Please remember that the sample must be representative of your text as a whole.

If your text is only available in hard copy (paper) format, you can still send us your sample, or the entire document by postal mail or fax. Please contact us by email with details of the length/weight of what you wish to send us and we will advise you how best to proceed. Please be aware that you will be liable for return postage costs of any sample or text in hard copy format, unless otherwise agreed in the contract.

What are your proofreading rates?

No two texts or projects are alike. This is why we avoid charging fixed rates. Our proofreading rates depend on the type of text, the quality of the original, word count and whether any additional work is required in order to return the finished work in the format desired. Specialist texts which require the input of a consultant may incur a higher fee.

That said, our proofreading rates are highly competitive, and we routinely offer low-cost services for students and for those who use our services on a regular basis. If you would like an estimate for a text or project, please contact us with a 200-word representative sample of your text.

Your proofreading rates are lower than most. What's the catch?

There isn't one. Because CME is a modern, web-based business, we do not have the same overheads as a traditional company, which must pay for office space and associated costs. Our staff collaborate over the internet, keeping costs down. This also allows us to tap the resources of specialist consultants when necessary, without paying for expensive travel and meeting spaces.

My text needs to be in U.S. English, not British English. Can you cater for that?

Absolutely. We can even help you with "localisation" needs, adapting web content or advertising material written for a British audience so that it is suitable for the U.S. market, or vice versa. Please be sure to specify your needs before we commence work on your project.

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My website needs correction of errors in spelling and grammar, but I want to keep everything else, including the layout of the text, the way it is. Is this possible?

Certainly, in the vast majority of cases it will be possible.

I want to send you a document for proofreading. What formats do you accept?

We accept all common formats such as docx (MS Word), pdf, ppt, html and xhtml, Excel, rich text format and of course plain text. We also accept printed manuscripts and texts. If you have any queries about format, either regarding the submitted project, or the format in which you desire the finished work, please don't hesitate to ask.

I have a complex medical text. Can you handle this?

Absolutely! Our staff specialise in this field.

What are your terms and conditions?

You can find our terms and conditions here.