Category Archives: Proofreading

Stoned sitters and other errors: Why Proofreading is a must

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Proofreading is tedious and boring. However, if you want to deliver an effective message, proofreading is a must. On the other hand, if you skip it, get ready to answer for embarrassing mistakes. Below are a few cringe-worthy examples from my own life:

  1. I sent an email to reschedule a meeting with members of another department whom I had never met and apologized for any “incontinence” (instead of inconvenience). I bet the recipients thought twice about meeting with me after that.
  2. A coworker opened a personalized sales letter with  “Hello, Virgin” instead of “Hello, Virgil.”
  3. My sitter, meaning to give an update on my son Jimmy, sent a text that read, “Joint great this morning. Not crabby at all!” Stoner child care or auto-correct? Thankfully, it was the latter.

It’s tempting to skimp on proofreading when you’re busy or a deadline is breathing down your neck. Or maybe you feel you’ve read through your copy enough times already, but what you don’t realize is you’re not seeing it with “fresh eyes” anymore. Typos have a habit of lurking in plain sight for everyone else but you. That’s why it’s worth the effort to establish a routine and involve coworkers or proofreading vendors to lend their eagle eyes.  Also, there are plenty of resources out there to help you with proofreading. Below is a short list:

  • Grammar Girl: A great blog and podcast that will help you find the answers to any question about grammar and good writing in general
  • Resource books like the AP Style Guide, Chicago Manual of Style and more (Check out our blog article on these and other valuable writing resources.)
  • Proofreading vendors, such as www.ProofreadNow.com

Your audience won’t notice that a piece has been thoroughly proofread, but they will notice when that essential step has been skipped. If you’re still not convinced that proofreading is a must, maybe the infographic below the “Continue reading” tag will persuade you:

Continue reading Stoned sitters and other errors: Why Proofreading is a must

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Mrs. Schlepke’s substitute: Helpful reference books

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stack of booksYou have a writing assignment, and you’re typing away in a flurry of inspiration. (Or is it desperation because your deadline looms?) Suddenly, a question pops into your head that makes you come to a dead stop: Should you use “affect” or effect”? Or maybe this is the question: Does the period go inside the quotes or outside? How about: Do you put commas in a date, and if so, where? Actually, it could be any of a hundred nagging little questions whose answers lie buried in the high school English class detritus left in your unconsciousness.

Instead of relying on dusty memory or calling Mrs. Schlepke, your freshman English teacher, out of retirement, it’s much easier to make sure you have a few handy-dandy reference books within reach. When writing professionally, whether for your job or for your career, it’s imperative that you present as close to a perfect communication piece as possible. Grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes look sloppy and unprofessional. And you can’t rely on spell checker alone. If you’ve used “effect” when the correct word is “affect,” your mistake will go unnoticed by spell checker. Continue reading Mrs. Schlepke’s substitute: Helpful reference books

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