Unit 8: Proofreading

Unit 8: Proofreading

Spelling errors make a poor impression! Learn about some common mistakes to avoid.


When you write quickly, it is easy to make mistakes. Always check your email carefully before you send it. It is a good idea to keep a list of words you have spelled wrongly in the past. Use this list to check that you have spelled them correctly. Also, use your computer's spell checker if you can. This will automatically correct spellings for you. Finally, here are a few other things to check for.

Words with similar sounds

Some words sound the same in English but have different spelling:

*Their not *hear yet. > They're not here yet.
*Wear do you want to *meat? > Where do you want to meet?

Short words

These are easy to spell, but they are also easy to spell incorrectly. Short words are the ones we type most quickly. It's easy to type some of the letters in the wrong order.

a lot *fo mistakes > of
Thank you *fro your letter > for
at *hte meeting > the

Silent letters

Many words that are common in emails have silent letters. Here are some examples (the silent letters are underlined):

know    write    wrong    forward    thought    right    interesting    Wednesday    Bye

Grammar: subject/verb agreement

You should always check that you have used the right verb in the right form. A common mistake is to forget the -s in the 3rd person singular (he/she/it).

The training *start at 9 a.m. > starts
My plane *leave at 4.35. > leaves
How long *do it take? > does
How many times *have he been here? > has


Remember to start every sentence with a capital letter, and to use a capital letter for place names, days, months, names, etc.

We will be in Newcastle with Mrs Hamilton on March the 4th, in Manchester with Dr Kassu on Tuesday the 5th, and Birmingham with Andrea Este on the Thursday.

We usually use commas when opening and closing emails, use a full stop at the end of a sentence and a capital letter at the start of a sentence. An exclamation mark (!) is OK in a friendly email, but it's better not to use them in formal emails.

Hi Mark,
Thank you very much for all your help this week. You must be glad it's the weekend!
With best regards,

Task 1




Here are the correctly spelt words: Hello, I look forward to, at the meeting, English lesson, let me know, next week, Dear John, With best regards, in the morning

Task 2

Task 3

Task 4


Language level

Average: 4.4 (7 votes)

Submitted by xeesid on Wed, 12/08/2020 - 11:18

Dear sir, I want to know two things in the following: “Those who are used to doing good things, pure souls, only go to the pure congregations, their heart inclines towards doing righteous things.” Here the speaker means to say that: pure souls attend only those sessions which are religious, they don’t attend bad gatherings. A. So, should it be the same you see above, or should it be like this: … pure souls go to only pure congregations… OR … pure souls go to pure congregations only … Please note the position of the word ‘only’ in all three. B. There are many people being talked about, so should it be the same you see above [their heart inclines…] or like this: … their hearts incline towards doing righteous things. Does it have to be: their heart inclines… OR Does it have to be: their hearts incline…
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Wed, 12/08/2020 - 15:47

In reply to by xeesid


Hello xeesid,

All of the positions of 'only' in the sentences you ask about are possible and correct. The last one is a little more emphatic than the others.

You could say 'heart' or 'hearts' here. I of course don't know the speaker's intentions, but by using 'heart', to me it sounds as if the hearts of the pure are more similar than the hearts of the rest of us.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your reply, sir. Actually there is a confusion. Look, if I say: There were children in the park. Their faces were shining. You see, the word 'faces', not face. As I was taught, we use plural case of limbs when our subject is plural. We can't say: I saw some kids. There was happiness on their face. Because they don't share a single face. Similarly, if there are millions of people as in my earlier question, they don't have a shared heart, but rather, they have separate hearts. Please guide.

Hello xeesid,

I think I see what you mean now, though am I right in thinking you already knew the answer to your question? 

What you learned is correct in most situations -- when each part of a plural subject possesses something individually, the thing possessed is also usually plural. This is clearly the case when talking about body parts.

'heart' can be a body part or could have a more abstract meaning of the kind I suggested in my first reply, which is why I think that either 'heart' or 'hearts' can be correct. If 'hearts' (which even in the plural can also have the more abstract meaning), then I'd encourage you to use that form. I had understood that you were trying to understand why someone might say 'heart'.

Hope this helps.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir, I asked my first question because of the confusion I developed reading it [i.e. their heart...] somewhere, which was weird to me; I thought I should take an expert's opinion on this. Thanking you for both of your replies sir.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Sat, 13/06/2020 - 00:16

It's really fantastic.

Submitted by Dilnoza Sulaymonova on Fri, 12/06/2020 - 13:31

very easy ways of learning I think
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Submitted by Aniyanmon on Wed, 31/07/2019 - 16:43

Dear Sir, Please see the following sentences. I would like to know which of the following sentences is correct. After "videos" "gives" or "give" is apt. In English this type of doubts always confusing me. Kindly enlighten me on this. I know the rules regarding noun and verb but yet sometimes I am confused. Kindly tell me which is the subject here. 1) Watching your videos gives me lots of confidence. 2) Watching your videos give me lots of confidence. Thank you.
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Thu, 01/08/2019 - 08:18

In reply to by Aniyanmon


Hello Aniyanmon

The gerund 'watching' in 'watching your videos' is singular, so 1 is correct here.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Mihalev on Mon, 31/12/2018 - 16:43

Hello, I live in the UK and am currently employed in the insurance sector. I am not a native speaker, and today, one of my British colleagues in the office suggested that a sentence I had written as a part of an email to a customer was wrong. Luckily, I asked her to proofread it before sending it. The sentence in question was 'We note that you have no objections to the removal of the implicated in the current damage trees.' My colleague said that the sentence did not make any sense. I am confused as to what exactly is wrong with the sentence, so I was hoping that you might be able to help. Kind regards, Mariyan