With my proofreading jobs, I’m asked often to ‘Australianise’ copy that comes from the United States so I’m used to looking out for tricky words. However, it’s not only copy that comes directly from the United States that you need to watch; it’s also copy from your own copywriters. Apart from the obvious ‘-ize/-ise’ spellings, there are many words that need to be checked in copy.
Here are my top ten errors:
Adviser Advisor (Writers are tricked because of ‘advisory’.)
Ageing Aging (Usually, the ‘e’ is dropped in American spelling.)
Fulfil Fulfill (and ‘instill’, ‘handfull’ and so on.)
Towards Toward (although both use ‘forward’ as in ‘to go forward’.)
Any time Anytime
To a good proofreader, the above are like red lights in copy. They’re easy to spot and disposed of quickly.