Kateproof offers an affordable and efficient proofreading service

When write is wrong

Posted on 4th April 2014

It's not uncommon for me to receive queries from business clients asking if I can write copy for them. In these situations, I explain that I'm not a copywriter (the skills for copywriting are very different from editing or proofreading, though that doesn't mean some people can't do all three or a mix thereof) and try to point them in the direction of someone who can help.

However, of late, I've received more queries from 'students' asking me to write their theses. This has been from undergraduate to PhD level and it never fails to shock me that someone would ask me for this service.

I know I'm not alone in being contacted about this so I thought I'd take the chance to write this blog to clarify my position and to ask students not to contact me asking for this service because it puts me in an awkward situation, especially if I am made aware of what university the student is at.

In case you're wondering why I don't write for students, here are a few key reasons:

  • It's cheating and blatant lying. All theses I've ever proofread have a declaration at the front for the student to state that the work is their own so if a third party has written it, it would be a lie to sign this.
  • The chances of me, or any other proofreader/editor, having enough subject knowledge to write at this level is slim. If I did, surely I'd have got my own PhD by now.
  • Oh, and did I mention it's cheating? Within the academic profession, it is usually called plagiarism, the definition of which is "[t]he practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own" (source: Oxford Online Dictionary, accessed 3rd April 2014). It's therefore fair to say that submitting work and claiming it as your own when you didn't write it very clearly falls under this and could result in you being thrown off your course, being stripped of the qualification and possibly tarnishing your reputation (and no, this isn't an exaggeration, as shown by some fine examples here).

As I've made very clear on previous blogs and on my academic services page, I do offer a proofreading service for students assuming the student's university permits it, but this is as much as I am willing to do.

Written by Kate Haigh.