Proof Positive: the importance of proofreading


Last week I was having a quick browse on eBay when something caught my eye. "Black patient shoes!" screamed the headline. "Must see!"

"Wow!" I thought. "Patient shoes! What are they when they're at home?" I clicked on the link. The shoes appeared. Black they certainly were. But 'patient'? No. Or not as far as I could see, anyway. These, you see, were patent shoes - as in 'patent leather'. And very nice they were too - just what I was looking for, and in my size. Did I buy them though? Not on your life. I didn't buy the "gorgeous sequence dress" I found a few minutes later, either. (Answers on a postcard if you can guess what a "sequence" dress is?)

My reasoning was simple. If the sellers of these items couldn't be bothered to take the time and care to make sure they'd got the name of the product right, and spelt it correctly, then how on earth could I trust them with the more complex matter of accepting my payment and sending out my patient shoes? The answer: I couldn't. The sloppy spelling had created the impression of a sloppy seller. It had also lost them a customer.

So it is with business. You may think that a couple of spelling mistakes in an email or report don't matter. They do. Just ask all of the prospective job candidates whose applications didn't make it out of the slush pile because their covering letter was littered with typos. They don't get an interview because they've already made themselves look careless; if your website is a mess of bad grammar and spelling, then it doesn't matter how great your product or service is - you already look unprofessional. And if your marketing literature is littered with mistakes- forget it!

Whether you're a large-scale business or a small-time seller, proofreading is something you really can't afford to skimp on. It's also something you shouldn't try to do yourself. As any professional writer will tell you, when you work on a piece of writing you become blind to its faults. No matter how carefully you re-read it, you see what you think is there. That's probably why last year a well known news website confidently predicted that John Kerry would "knot" win the US election. And why my accountant keeps writing to me about "teh business."

If you're serious about your professional image, get someone else to proofread your brochures, website, letters and adverts. And steer clear of patient shoes?

Amber McNaught runs Writing World, a new agency for freelance writers. Writing World provides a free agency service which helps writers find work, and helps employers find the best writer for their project.

Writing World also offers a range of service such as proofreading, edting and manuscript appraisal services to new and aspiring writers.

Visit the Writing World website at http://www.writingworld.org


MORE RESOURCES:
RELATED ARTICLES
How to Write a Short Story
Everybody knows writing a story is not easy. Like the drama or the poem, it is imaginative literature that should appeal to the emotions of the readers.
Suspense Novels Need Fast Starts
Suspense novels, unlike any other genre, need fast starts. Fans of suspense novels or their close relatives, thrillers, detective stories and mysteries, expect a fast-paced read.
The Beginners Guide to Freelance Writing
The Big IdeaOkay. So youve figured out that you would like to write for magazines, newspapers, and e-zines.
The Spectre Hound
And a dreadful thing from the cliff did spring,and its wild bark thrill'd around,His eyes had the glow of the fires below,'twas the form of the spectre houndOne of the most chilling omens of death in English folklore is the large, spectral demon dog called Black Shuck. A death omen comes to collect souls and if you have the misfortune to see Black Shuck - expect death to come within a year.
Turning Your Journal Into An Idea Bank
A few magazines refer to their written idea sources in assigning articles to reliable, experienced writers, or even allow those writers to peruse them for topics to write about.And for awhile, I kept an idea book that was similar to a writer's journal.
Get Published: The Nuts and Bolts of Good English, and How to Impress a Publisher (1)
Not all writers write good grammar. That's a fact.
Retail Margin, Trade Discount, and What it Means for the Author
DEFINITIONSRetail margin is basically the difference between your book's wholesale price and your book's retail price. For example, a book with a cover price of $10 and a wholesale price of $5 has a 50% retail margin.
How To Become a Freelance Grant Writer
What is a freelance grant writer? These individuals have a lot of power in their hands. When they work for companies, they are essentially trying to help gain free money for that company to help the company expand, do research, or to stay in business.
Writing With Power: 5 Snappy Rules For Success
Almost everyone could profit from enhancing their writing skills. From writing more crisp meta-tags - which search engine bots find quite sexy - to turbo-charging your blog readership by writing with punch, a skilled pen can propel any online effort in the right direction.
Writing Made Them Rich #5: Peter Mayle
Peter Mayle was born in England in 1939.His fascination with France began at the age ofseventeen when, as the 'lowliest trainee' in Shell, hewas instructed to accompany his boss - a Mr.
Every Result is an Asset
Not long ago, I went to an Internet Marketing Seminar. One of the speakers was John Reese, a man who set the Internet world abuzz in August 2004 by achieving the amazing result of just over a million dollars worth of sales in 18 hours.
Does The Title Reflect The Story?
Short Story Writing Tips -We all have different tastes in what we like to read. Some have a particular taste for horror, while others prefer romance or fantasy or crime stories, etc.
A Perfect Day for Writers
In one of the exercises in my "Getting Started as a Freelance Writer" workshop, I ask participants to describe what a "perfect day" would be like for them.The responses are frequently tender, wistful and unfailingly vivid.
Become the Writer You Always Dreamed of Being
So you want to be a writer, except you don't know where to begin. Heck you can't even think of something to write about let alone how you're going to get paid for writing.
Top Ten Tips (Part 1)
The following rules are essential if you want people to take you seriously.Be yourself Know your subjectBe interested Punctuate proudlyRespect the apostropheGet great grammarSpell well Keep to the pointRead and reviseSleep on itPay attention to detailBe yourselfWrite from the heart or the head or the gut, depending upon the type ofwriting you are doing.
10 Tips on Writing Effective Dialogue
1. Become an EavesdropperListen carefully to the way people REALLY talk.
Weaving Your Personal Statement Together
1. SECRETS TO SUCCESS2.
Top Ten Writing Mistakes Made By New Childrens Writers
Okay. So I'm not David Letterman.
Whats Missing in your Nearly Finished Book?
Bookcoaching clients come to me at different stages of writing their books. The ones who start from ground zero with a coach and learn what goes into each chapter to make it more readable and sell better.
7 Weapons to Conquer the Giant Procrastination Keeping You from Your Book Dream
Have you been guilty of procrastinating on your book project,lately? Like the author, many writers get hung up with wrongthinking about writing and completing their books. They feel like aloser because they have stopped and started countless of times overthe years.

Home | Articles Site Map