OK for some to pay

January 5, 2007

Ruth Scurr's views on proofreading agencies (Opinion, December 15) struck this freelance tutor as confused and disingenuous. So it was OK for her to tidy up a fellow student's PhD thesis for a token reward, but it's dishonest when someone - who may not have such a kind native-speaking friend - pays a professional to do the same?

It is unclear whether or not Scurr believes dyslexics, foreigners and those from the wrong educational background should simply accept lower marks, whether using a spellcheck constitutes cheating or whether she and her colleagues really know how to "teach" the mechanics of writing or the idiomatic subtleties of academic English.

As for the unfairness of charges, is she unaware of the years of tutoring and/or private-school fees that enabled many of her students to get into Cambridge?

Justine Budenz
London

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