Membership upgrade

There has been a small amendment to my About page: I have achieved an upgrade to intermediate member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.

The Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) is a UK-based organisation for editorial professionals. Its aims are to ‘promote high editorial standards’, to ‘uphold the professional status of editors and proofreaders’, and to ‘encourage the use of services offered by SfEP members’.

The SfEP has an outstanding reputation for encouraging and promoting editorial excellence. I was therefore thrilled that the society’s admission panel judged that I have fulfilled the criteria for intermediate membership. I proved my training and experience, and the panel is satisfied with my professional competence.

And as a bonus, I am now allowed to use this membership logo:


If anyone reading this is thinking about upgrading, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it.


Top posts of 2015

It’s 2016.

Here are last year’s top 10 posts on this blog (according to my stats page) in case you missed them. You’re welcome.

  1. I am now on Royal Holloway’s register of approved proofreaders I reach the heady heights of approved-proofreader status.
  2. Split infinitives Use them.
  3. ‘I.e.’ and ‘e.g.’ are not interchangeable They do not mean the same thing.
  4. ‘Its’ and ‘it’s’ Its is a possessive pronoun – no apostrophe needed.
  5. Punctuation..? by User Design An author asked me to review their book on punctuation.
  6. Paragraphs I ask writers to use paragraphs. Please.
  7. Homophones The summary post for my series on words that sound the same.
  8. Defenestration An interesting word.
  9. Ending a sentence with a preposition Do it.
  10. Proofreading advice: take a break Advice to help writers spot errors.

If there were any posts you particularly liked, I’d love to hear from you.

I hope the new year is treating you well, and I hope you will join me for many more posts to come!

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award

Thank you to Jeneane Behme for kindly nominating me for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. I love Jeneane’s writing and her commonplace book (such a wonderful idea).

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award is for the loyal fans and commenters, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger or someone who follows and comments regularly.

5 facts about me:

  1. This is as close as they get to each other.

    Harry is on the right. This is as close as they get to each other.

    I have 2 cats. If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen pictures of them already. Harry is 17 years old, and I couldn’t adore him any more than I do. He is frequently to be found dropping leaves everywhere or dribbling on my laptop. Maisie is 8 years old, and she allows me to live in the same house as her. She is frequently to be found policing the cat flap so Harry can’t get in.

  2. I have Raynaud’s syndrome. It’s uncomfortable but manageable. I often work at my desk with a blanket over my legs and a hot water bottle under my feet. I always wear fingerless gloves.
  3. I write too. I’m not saying my writing is particularly remarkable, or that I will ever share it here. But I know what it’s like to turn your ideas into written words. I know how scary it is to show someone your stories or your thoughts.
  4. I’m not unhappy when people buy me socks for Christmas. I can never have too many socks. In fact, I really like receiving new socks.
  5. One of my favourite words is packet. It sounds nice and sometimes good things come in packets.

I would like to thank all my regular readers. If you would like to take part, please consider yourself nominated! You can find the details on Jeneane’s post.

Blogger Recognition Award

I’ve received a few nominations for blogging awards/challenges but I haven’t got round to responding to them yet. I’m very flattered that fellow bloggers thought to nominate me for any.

I was nominated for this award by Keelan Miskwi. Thank you, Keelan.

The purpose of this award is to motivate and encourage bloggers and let them know that they’re appreciated, no matter how big or small their blog is.

How and why I started my blog

I started my blog because I chose to host my professional website. WordPress is good value for my current needs and the interface is (mostly) hassle free. There’s a wonderful blogging community here and I wanted to be part of that.

As I trained and gained experience as proofreader, I realised the things I know now would have been very handy for student-me and administrator-me to have known. My hope for my blog was that I could share my little bits of knowledge and that there might be people out there who would find it helpful.

Advice for new bloggers

I still think of myself as a relatively new blogger. I’m certainly still learning! I do have some practical advice for new bloggers which is, if you haven’t already done so, you should set your blavatar. It is used as the site icon for your blog.

Go the WP Admin board for your site and choose settings. This should take you to the General Settings page. On the right-hand side, it should say ‘Blog Picture / Icon’. The picture you upload there will then replace the standard-issue WordPress symbol that shows on bookmarks and browser tabs. There is a WordPress support page you can consult for more details.

I won’t tag any bloggers to pass on the award, but please consider yourself nominated if you would like to take part. The guidelines are on Keelan’s post.

50th post!

This is my 50th post on!

Thank you for following my blog. Thank you for your kind and interesting comments. Thank you for liking my posts. Thank you for your emails and tweets.

I hope that my posts have been helpful and at least a little bit interesting; I have certainly enjoyed reading your blogs.

If you have any content or topics you would like to suggest for future posts, please let me know.

To show my appreciation, I would like to offer all of my followers 20% off the total fee for the first project I work on with them. All you have to do is follow me on WordPress, follow me on Twitter, or like my page on Facebook. Please tell me that you follow me when you request a project quote.

You can follow me on twitter here:

You can like my page on Facebook here: Hannah McCall – Proofreader

Once again, thank you. You are all wonderful.

I am now on Royal Holloway’s register of approved proofreaders

I am delighted to be able to say that I am now on Royal Holloway’s register of approved proofreaders!

Founder's Building

Founder’s Building

Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) is located in Egham, Surrey. I visited the Centre for the Development of Academic Skills on campus at the end of last week.

I passed the proofreading assessment, and I have agreed to abide by the proofreading policy that is in place for RHUL students. I was also given training on RHUL’s error identification code.

I have very clear boundaries in regard to the proofreading that I do for student clients (these are written into my terms and conditions for students). The guidelines given by RHUL are a little stricter in that they only allow the identification of errors. For RHUL students, these guidelines will take precedence over the services stated in my own terms.


I have a professional ‘About’ page, which you can find here, but I am also a real human being. I am going to express some of my real human self, starting with my relationship with reading.

Although I read as a job, I still retain my love of reading as a whole. In fact, I think my job has only increased my love of words – I have read some things that I never would have done otherwise, and they were fascinating, beautiful and enriching. Proofreading and reading are different techniques, and they are for different purposes, but I enjoy them both.

As a child I was always engrossed in a book (or two, or more). There are boxes and boxes of my books in the attic. I can’t bear to part with them. I am one of those people who can read in whole phrases or sentences at a time, not word by word. I was in the top percentage of every verbal reasoning test I did. Words make sense to me. They are a comfort and a wonderful challenge., there was a brief spell during my time at university where I could not bring myself to read for pleasure. I was reading to gain knowledge, to inform my essays, to prepare for exams, and it wore me down. I couldn’t find any joy in words anymore. This was especially true when I was reading about the terrible, horrible things that human beings do to other human beings.

I turned to television and to films for my stories. And while they are enjoyable mediums, they are not as deep and as engrossing as a book. I think that was part of why I embraced them. They didn’t have the same impact that written words did.

It took a while but reading has returned to being a joy for me. I try to read widely, and I am not a ‘book snob’. My current stack of books to read ranges from Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death to The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Proofing is not proofreading

I have noticed a tendency for the term ‘proofing’ to be used interchangeably with ‘proofreading’. I thought this might be a good opportunity to explain a little more about proofreading. In publishing terminology, ‘proofing’ means providing a proof. It is not another term for proofreading. a typescript has been copy-edited and design instructions have been established, the marked-up typescript (copy) is sent to the typesetter. The typesetter then produces the proof. The proof is a way to ‘try out’ the typesetter’s work. It allows the material to be checked and corrected before the publication process moves any further.

A proofreader will read and correct this proof – proofreading.

The proofreader will typically check for any errors that have been introduced during typesetting (as well as those that may have made it through the copy-editing stage), ensure that the material has been presented as intended and without any poor outcomes (bad word breaks, widows and orphans, etc.), and make sure that any page references are correct. The proofreader’s job is to ensure consistency and accuracy, but the actual tasks undertaken may vary depending on the client’s requirements.

If you would like further information on what a proofreader does and does not do, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders has a handy page here.