Grammar: Things I can’t abide

As a professional proofreader, I look for everything that’s wrong with a piece of text. Sometimes even when not proofreading, I struggle to raise myself above the grammar.

But there are certain things that I really can’t abide. Fortunately for you, my services will get rid of such things for you—as well as countless others. Below is a short list (as opposed to a shortlist) of the ones that drive me nuts:

  • Inconsistent spacing between sentences. Sometimes one; sometimes two.
  • Faux ellipses. Three full stops/periods (…) instead of the ellipsis symbol (…).
  • Hyperlinks that underline a trailing space or punctuation mark as well as the words that form the link. (Note that if an entire sentence is being hyperlinked, the full stop/period at the end should be underlined.)
  • Italicised words or phrases that also have the leading or trailing space italicised. It’s not obvious to a lay-reader, but it kills me.
  • Inconsistent punctuation at the end of bullets.
  • Redundant spaces at the end of paragraphs. Yes, I know they’re not harming anyone, but they are doing untold damage to my sanity.

Above are some of the reasons I’m a proofreader, and why arguably I’m no fun to be around.

Posted by Dan, 16 July, 2011 under Grammar


  • I agree with your sentiments completely, to the point where I have to correct you. Your example of a faux ellipsis does not depict three full stops as you suggest; rather, it shows the character … – the decimal encoded HTML entity for a horizontal ellipsis.

    Generally speaking, you can avoid the need for such numeric encoding by choosing an appropriate character encoding for your page. But that’s another discussion…

    Posted by Alastair, 16 July, 2011, 10:40pm

  • Agreed. I think I have a WordPress plug-in that automatically switches them to ellipses. Not great when you’re referring to their misuse. Ho hum…

    Posted by Dan, 16 July, 2011, 10:44pm

  • ‘Arguably’ in your final sentence is redundant.

    Posted by Simon, 17 July, 2011, 9:17am

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