image proofreading symbolsDo you spot mistakes in printing such as repeated words, misspellings, repeated words? Have you ever wanted to point out the mistakes to someone? Ever thought you could do better?

So did I. That’s why I decided to take up a proofreading correspondence course from Chapterhouse Publishing.

I’ve only got as far as the beginning exercises and already I’m realising that it’s not so easy to spot mistakes when you’ve got a page full of them in front of you.

There is a lot to learn!

Proofreading Symbols

The squiggles and symbols you see in the image here are only a small part of the proofreading symbols I have to learn. They look a bit like shorthand – or Greek. There are a lot of them.

There are symbols for changing upright text to italic, reducing extraneous spaces between letters and words, and changing the indents for paragraphs and lists. The list goes on. If you’d like to see more symbols follow this link to see the full list.

Knowing what they mean and where to put them is half the battle. They need to be clear and exact for the typesetter to read them and understand what you are trying to tell them. If I get it wrong my mistakes could end up in print with a very angry author and publisher on my tail.


The course consists of a number of exercises to get you used to the symbols and how to use them and two assignments to be marked. The first assignment is marked for assessment and feedback only and the second and final assignment is what gives you your qualification – or not.

It is rare to get a Grade A and a pass mark is Grade B or above!

The pressure is on. Watch this space as I work towards becoming a qualified proofreader.