Proofreading Software vs. Human Proofreading

The capabilities of computer systems are increasing at a rate that’s truly remarkable. Today, there’s software that can accurately read your emotions and quantum computers that can perform previously ‘impossible’ calculations. Hire a proofreader, and it’s a different story altogether.

Computers are becoming faster, more accurate and adaptable, so it’s not much of a jump to assume that they’ve mastered the art of proofreading by now. Proofreading blog post writing and emails surely can’t be more difficult than creating 8 million virtual universes or any of the other incredible computing breakthroughs of the last decade… or can it?

Software is still trailing far behind what humans are capable of in many areas. Even sites touted as the best solution such as Grammarly have serious flaws. If you’re considering going down the software route for your proofreading needs, here’s why you could be about to make a big mistake.

The Drawbacks of Computer Proofreading Software

Proofreading software has its uses, but when you hire a proofreader you can expect a higher level of quality. Checkers can and will pick up on many spelling, grammar and writing errors in your work.

Some will offer suggestions for synonyms, tell you how to improve the clarity of your content and alert you of repeated words as well as suggesting different wording structures for overly complex sentences.

The problem is that software is only effective to an extent. Relying solely on software over a human being could end up costing you the readability of your content, which could stop a large proportion of your audience from being able to access the information you want to share. There are many drawbacks to proofreading software, including:

  • No Respect for Creativity

Sometimes it’s ok to break grammar rules and stray from the beaten track to make your content a little more humorous, suspenseful or unique. The issue here is that proofreading software isn’t a fan of this type of unique content…

The software often points out errors that aren’t errors or will highlight something as incorrect when in fact it’s just creativity. It may even automatically change correct words into completely different words, stopping the original meaning from being conveyed appropriately!

Idioms are a good example of where software doesn’t understand creative writing. There are some great benefits to using idioms in your writing, but if proofreading software had its way, this is what would become of some idioms for the sake of writing formally or not using overused expressions:

Bite the bullet would become face the situation.

Get your act together would become become organised.

The straw that broke the camel’s back would become the final limit.

It’s clear that software isn’t reliable for rule-breakers or creative writers and can dull your content, reducing the traffic that comes to your site and the conversions that you are hoping to achieve.

  • Not Identifying Errors

Many mistakes simply go unnoticed by software, which is bad news for your content. Take commonly misused words as an example, software probably won’t pull you up on:

Affect vs. Effect

Fewer vs. Less

Bring vs. Take

Wonder vs. Wander

Ensuring vs. Insuring

Software is also unlikely to identify problems like tense inconsistency, the use of repetitive sentence structures or comma misplacement. This means that you can end up with content that is confusing and hard to read, turning your audience off and reducing the authority you are trying to create.

  • Single Word Analysis

Proofreading software is not very good at identifying meaning or context – it generally takes things one word at a time. Depending on the software you use, these sentences may be considered perfectly acceptable:

Content marketing helps persons too grow they’re business.

Its you’re choose too buy content or right the blog post on yourself.

These sentences certainly make for an uncomfortable read, despite some software giving them the all-clear or close to. Even the go-to choice of word processor for millions of writers, Microsoft Word, still fails in many areas, and your content ends up full of red and blue squiggly lines when the content you’ve created is more than acceptable.

Every typo made in content is not picked up, and suggestions for corrections are not right 100% of the time.

Most editors will notice and change the majority of these problems, but there’s still a chance that one or two might make it to the proofreading stage. Any content that makes it to publication with ‘you’re instead of your’ or ‘they’re instead of their’ is ripe for ridicule – negatively impacting your reader base and credibility.

  • Not Understanding Audiences

Proofreading software is also very poor at understanding the audience you are trying to reach, even with more modern products, having a niche audience can be a disaster when you put your entire trust in software.

Some of the most obvious issues arise in content that is technical, medical or highly professional and that has been written to appeal to that specific audience. Rather than ensuring your audience feels valued, proofreading software will seek to dumb down the language and reduce the complex sentence patterns to be appealing to a wider audience.

While this can be an asset for more generalised content, it is a nightmare for businesses that need highly specialised solutions for their business.

Sadly, even when content is more general and aimed at a wider audience, your proofreading software will always try to offer the lowest possible grammar and vocabulary choices, which put you at risk of sounding like you don’t understand what you are talking about.

The good news is that a professional proofreader will be able to read between the lines and ensure that the content you want to share has been carefully crafted to reach the right audience and maintain your authority, helping you to get the best result every time.

This will reduce the time you need to spend creating the perfect tone without compromising on the quality of information being shared.

Human Proofreaders: A Whole Different Experience

By the time a document lands on the lap of a proofreader, it should be almost ready to publish; it’s then a proofreader’s entire job to make sure that there are no errors. Once your work comes back from a proofreader, there’ll be no:

  • Inconsistencies
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Clarity problems
  • Formatting issues
  • Inverted words
  • Grammatical errors
  • Punctuation misuse
  • Syntactical errors

Hire a proofreader and they’ll catch all of the tiny details that make your content less than perfect, whether it’s an incorrect use of ‘there’ or a double space after a full stop. This job takes immense precision, patience and remarkable knowledge of the English language – a hard language to learn, let alone master!

Human proofreaders and editing services don’t just analyse writing one word at a time, but also at sentence, paragraph and whole document level. When you hire a proofreader, they will make writing fluid and polish it to perfection so that it reads with ease and convinces your reader that what you have to say is important and should be considered.

This eye for detail and comprehensive understanding of things like context and creative writing just cannot be matched by a computer; the likelihood is that technology will never manage to offer the depth and quality of service that a professional editor can.


To discover for yourself how a freelance proofreader can transform your content or outsource content writing and proofreading services together, you need Anglo Content. Hire a proofreader on one-off or on an ongoing basis. Our writers and freelance proofreaders have grammatical gymnastic skills that even today’s AI software can only dream of!

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