Frequently Asked Questions

Couldn’t I just use a spellchecker and a grammar checker?

A spellchecker is great for identifying obvious errors and typos. But it won’t know if you meant to write that your friend was ingenious or ingenuous, or whether you flaunt or flout the rules. It won’t pick up on misuses of their, there or they’re, and it won’t notice if you have accidentally used of instead of on. Grammar checkers are inconsistent at best (just check their reviews or ask any editorial professional). A skilled human being can understand context and meaning; a grammar checker can only apply – appropriately or not – the rules it has been programmed with.

Can you proofread my work for free?

No. I am a trained professional; proofreading is my job. I have bills to pay and cats to feed. If you are worried about costs, please be assured I will always tell you the fee upfront. There won’t be a surprise amount on the invoice when I return the work to you. We can also explore payments in installments if appropriate.

Why do you need to see a sample of my work?

I need to see a sample of the project for a number of reasons. I need to make sure that my services would be suited to your needs – the help of a copy-editor might be more appropriate or I may feel another proofreader would be better equipped to do justice to the subject matter. The sample gives me an idea of the sort of intervention your project is likely to require and that helps me to provide you with an accurate quote for the work.

Will you provide a proofreading sample?

No, I don’t routinely provide proofreading samples. I may, at my own discretion, proofread a page or two for long projects so that the client is aware of the extent of my intervention. If you would like to see a sample of a proofread essay, you can find an example on the Information for Students page. I am also more than happy to proofread the first chapter (or amount of words of your choice) for a minimal fee before you decide if you would like to secure my services for the full project.

How much will it cost?

I don’t have set fees. I will provide a quote for the project based on your requirements and the time I think it will take me to complete the work. My quotes are based on the minimum rate suggested by the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. As a guide, I would expect to quote a fee of between £80 and £120 for a project of 10,000 words.

How do you accept payment?

I accept payment by bank transfer. I will provide the details on the invoice you receive. If you are outside the UK, any bank charges that might be incurred are payable by you.

How long will it take?

It will depend on the length of the project and the level of intervention I am required to make. I may also have other projects already scheduled in that will need my attention. I will always tell you how long I expect the project to take and what my availability is. I would expect to complete projects of up to 3,000 words in 24 hours. Anything above 100,000 words is likely to take at least 2 weeks.

Can you lower the fee you have quoted?

No. My fees are reasonable for a professional proofreader at my level of training and experience. If you have a set budget, please let me know when you first contact me – it may save us both time. And please beware of anyone offering to proofread a lot of words for very little money. If you pay £100 for someone to proofread 75,000 words, it is unlikely your work will have had the time and attention it deserves, not to mention the dubious skills and knowledge that might have been applied to it.

Do you accept payment in installments?

Yes, I do. I will proofread the project in installments and invoice you for each installment. Once you have settled that invoice, I will work on the next installment, and so on.

How do I secure your services?

You can email me with all the details I request on my Contact page, or use the Request a Quote feature. I will then let you know my availability and provide you with a quote for the work. If you would like to go ahead, I will provide you with a formal project quote. This will give details of the project and the fee. To accept it, you will need to fill in your details (address, contact number, etc.) and sign it to confirm you agree with my terms and conditions. Once I have received the project and any advance payment, I will email you to confirm when work will commence and the expected date of completion.

Why have you requested an advance payment?

I often request an advance payment to book my time. It is usually because the project will take a long time and I need to guarantee that I will receive payment for it. When I book your project into my schedule, I won’t take on any other projects for that period (small projects excepted). I will be marking that time as ‘yours’, so I ask for an advance to make sure you are committed to the terms of our agreement. I may also request an advance because you are a new client or because you are outside of the UK and it would be difficult to pursue non-payment.

Would you accept a guarantee letter from my university instead of an advance payment?

No. However, I am happy for your university to contact me directly to discuss any exceptional circumstances.

Can you write my essay, dissertation or thesis for me?

No. It would be unprofessional for me to do so. It would probably constitute academic malpractice and it could severely damage, or end, your academic career.

Will you check references and citations?

Yes. I will check references exist for all sources cited in the text, and I will make sure the references and citations match.

Can you amend the references so they are in the correct style?

No. I will make minor changes where elements such as punctuation have been accidentally omitted or overlooked. However, I will not arrange references into the correct style if you have made no attempt to do so yourself and I will not confirm or add details.

Do you subcontract work to other proofreaders?

No. All work is carried out by me.

Are you an editor?

No. I may give light editorial advice as required but if you require extensive intervention you will need the services of a copy-editor.

Will you improve my writing?

Sort of. I will identify areas where there are issues with clarity and sense, and I will help you fix them (if I am allowed to). I will also provide you with feedback and advice on any errors you make regularly and a style sheet for you to keep. However, I won’t interfere with your own style or re-word your writing because I think it ‘sounds better’.

Will you make any adjustments I request until I am happy?

No. I will suggest or make changes I think are necessary. I will work with you if you have any questions, and (if you are a student) I will make one more proofreading check of anything you amend because of my feedback. If you need new content proofread, I can provide you with a quote for that work.

If you have any questions that haven’t been answered above, please don’t hesitate to contact me.