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One of my first jobs in the mass media was working in the production department of a big suburban newspaper chain. Although I was a lowly production artist, I almost had a college degree and aspired to greater things. In specific, I hoped to be a proofreader, which paid better and didn't involve hot wax and x-acto knives.
One day my chance came and I was given a standard proofreading test. I remember that the head proofreader was a large, stern woman whose office was eerily quiet compared to the raucous production floor. I felt good as I turned in my test and was therefore astonished to see her mark error after error in the text that I had missed. Although I didn't get the job, she said I'd done comparatively well, and that being good at proofreading was a skill that could be developed with practice.
Nowadays we rely -- indeed, rely too much -- on the spell-checking programs in our word processors to save us from error. But, of course, among other deficiencies, spell checkers are notorious for passing by the completely wrong word just because it's spelled correctly.
Take a look at the sentences below. Which errors would you catch that your spell checker wouldn't?
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