Proofreading Tips: Anagrams

Catriona Tippin

With Laugh Out Loud as the Words & Pictures theme this month, here’s a look at some wordplay – anagrams and transpositions. 

What do Tom Marvolo Riddle, VivianDarkbloom and Torchwood have in common? 

They are, of course, famous and deliberate anagrams for: 

  • I am Lord Voldemort 

  • Vladimir Nabokov 

  • Doctor Who 

The Lemony Snicket books include several anagrams of characters’ names: for fun, to reveal connections, and more. But here’s a new dilemma for you and your work-in-progress. As if you didn’t already have regular proofreading to do, how about checking out your title or your characters’ names – for unintentional and unfortunate anagrams. 

You can search for this mildly amusing phenomenon using an anagram checker/solver website, there are several. Try out your title or a character’s name; the most useful results are achieved if you choose to filter for ‘words of three letters or more’ and ‘two words at most’ 

Thus, for ‘Proofreading tips’ there’s: 

  • Rapidest proofing 

  • Forgot drainpipes 

  • Drafting porpoise 

‘Transpositions’ are mini-anagrams made from the letters of a single word, such as carthorse for orchestra, or raincoat for Catriona. Again, it’s intriguing to see what can be made out of a title or name you’ve chosen. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to find ‘untranspositional’ character names, or ‘unanagramable’ titles. It is merely useful to be aware of these possibilities. You can practise your look of ennui and savoir faire, or your witty riposte, should anyone – kids, trolls, the Press – tiresomely point out a transposition or anagram. This heads-up partners the Proofreading Tips article of April 2014 which highlighted the possibilities of unfortunate website names and title acronyms. Having checked out your anagrams too, you’ll be ready for anything. 

Forewarned is forearmed.

Catriona (Raincoat) Tippin aka @ProofReadingTip will be back next month with more proofreading tips. 

To see previous tips, click on this proofreading link.

Catriona Tippin has been a member of SCBWI since 2006 and helps organise venues for SCBWI North East. Details of her writing and illustrating here. She proofreads study guides, house magazines and publicity material for two national educational charities, in addition to working on a variety of proofreads and copyedits for the growing self-published world. Her monthly column is intended to give you food for thought, remembering “Any correction of the speech or writing of others will contain at least one grammatical, spelling or typographical error” (McKean’s Law, named after its inventor Erin McKean, editor of the Oxford American Dictionary). 


  1. Many thanks, Catriona - very good fun. I did recently discover that a major character in my WIP had a very rude acronym. VERY glad to have discovered this now...

    1. Ooh come on Nancy, tell us your characters name and let us work out the risque anagram!

  2. Hi Nancy - 'Words and Pictures' = Co-starred windups? Dewdrops curtains? Sword dance purist?

  3. Dia gram in math very important and your ideas give me full detail thanks for share it literature review writing services .


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