Ode to the Squiggly Red Line

I’ve been proofreading on paper this week, and I’ve missed my squiggly red line.

You know the one: the thin red line that pops up on the computer screen when Microsoft Word thinks it has detected a misspelling. I’m a good speller—and a good editor—so I can spot most misspelled words with or without Word’s assistance.

But without the squiggly red line, I get stalled by words like ubiquitous and prerequisite. Accommodate and occurrence slow me down too.

little red line

little red lineReading on paper, I have to slow down and examine certain terms letter by letter. Yet when I slow down too much, words start to look wrong even when they’re right!big thin red line

I’m sure that red pens and Number 2 pencils will always have a place in my editing toolkit. But I think it’s time for me to show some appreciation for the useful, powerful, helpful, squiggly red line.

Thank you, squiggly red line, for helping me zip through daunting words like commodities or lieutenant without a second glance.

Thank you, squiggly red line, for not slowing me down when I can’t remember how many l’s in millennial or n’s in centennial. I just type, comfortable in the knowledge that if I miscount, you will throw your squiggly self beneath the offending word, allowing me to try again until it stands proudly unadorned.

Thank you, squiggly red line, for letting me teach you new words so that you never mistakenly flag eDitmore and I don’t have to look twice at Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Thank you, little squiggly red line, for making my life easier—one word at a time.

January 30, 2015

Blog Categories


Need help with your article or advertisement? Want someone to give your book a final look? Drop us a line or give us a call—we’d love to have a word with you.


I highly recommend Tammy Ditmore to you. She has edited three of my books in the past two years. Each time, I have been impressed with her professionalism, and pleased with her ability to provide a po… Read more
J. Stephen YuillePastorGrace Community Church

You May Also Like…

Two Decades of Remembering

I’ve been watching lots of 9/11 documentaries in the past few weeks, and the images are still searing, even 20 years...

Happy 1st Decade to Me!

Ten years ago this month, I first sat down to work under the (virtual) banner of eDitmore Editorial Services. I was...

Monday Night Lights

Most days I spend my work days in front of a computer, my workplace interactions limited to email or the occasional...