My Mum and two of my grandparents were school teachers. I was brought up having incorrect punctuation, spelling and grammar errors on signs and literature pointed out to me. It’s still a huge bugbear of mine. I cringe when I see errors. Apostrophes cause the biggest groan.
Imagine the effect obvious mistakes in your writing could have on the image you give your customers or clients. Why should your clients take you seriously if you can’t get some of the basics of English right? Whenever you write, print, blog, or publish remember that simple mistakes can detract from your credibility.
I admit I may not get it right all of the time, but I do try. There are some things that I do and that anyone can easily do before you publish anything to make sure that it’s error free and written clearly:
- If you have a spelling and grammar checker on our computer, make sure you use it.
- Read everything you write out loud to yourself. You will spot mistakes easier. If you stumble over a sentence rewrite it.
- Ask a colleague, friend or family member to proofread your text. Ask more than one person if you can. A fresh pair of eyes always helps pick out those pesky errors.
- If you are unsure of the correct spelling of a word (e.g. when to use ‘affect’ or ‘effect’) or where to put the apostrophe or punctuation look it up in a dictionary or online. There are plenty of websites that give advice. Don’t leave it to chance that you’ll get it right!
- There are free and paid for tools online that can help. I use the free versions of Prowritingaid and Hemingwayapp which are both good at picking out errors and fine tuning your writing.
- If you still need help employ an experienced proofreader and copy editor.
What do you think? What spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes make you cringe? What advice or tools can you add?