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Don't Rely on your Spellchecker - or - The Importance of Good Proof Reading
by: Tony Murtagh

Weather posting a page to your Website, writing a letter to a customer, or submitting an article for publication, it is extremely important to demonstrate how professional you are. Not only does a series of spelling and grammatical errors show a discourtesy to your readers, it makes you look amateurish. Potential customers will lose any trust they may have had in your business. Only a week or so ago, I read a classified ad asking me to visit their "sight" - needless to say I did not bother. If someone does not take care over their advertising, how reliable is the rest of their business?

Perhaps you are not very good at spelling - or typing - and your articles and letters are riddled with mistakes (probably when you were working for an employer you had a secretary to type your male) so, what are you going to do?

The first thing, but NOT the only thing, is to use your spellchecker. This is fine to get rid of the typos and obvious spelling mistakes, but does not correct any instances of you typing in the wrong word e.g. there (denoting a place) or their (belonging to them).

So, read your work back after you have written it. Many people find that actually reading out loud is a great way of spotting errors. If it is an important item, print it off and read it a little while after you have typed it. Ideally, get someone else to reed it and mark off any errors. When I was involved in publishing, it was always a strict rule, even with the most experienced writers, to get someone else to check their work. It is surprising how often one is unable to spot one's own mistakes.

So to summarise, use your spellchecker, re-read the item yourself, print out and proof read and ideally get someone else to do the proof reading.

One last point, make allowances for the fact that some articles are written in "British" English, as opposed to "American" English. So if you see colour spelled colour, or centre spelled centre, the author has not misspelled the word, he is just likely to be American (or at least has the American version of English on his spellchecker.)

And finally, there are three deliberate mistakes in this article where I have intentionally used the wrong word (at least I HOPE there are only three!!) in order to demonstrate the point I am making. The first three readers to email me detailing the errors will each be given a FREE ad in my newsletter and in the classified sevtion of my Web Site. murtagh@bigfoot.com?subject=TAD

About The Author

Tony Murtagh has spent all his career involved in sales, sales management, marketing and PR. He was a UK National Sales Manger (Major Accounts) for a mobile communications company, had his own publishing company producing a monthly Business to Business magazine and has acted as a PR consultant for a number of small businesses. He is now sharing his wide experience of sales, marketing and promotion in his new web site: - http://DevelopYourWebSiteAndYourself.com and in a weekly e-ezine Aardvark Marketing, which you can subscribe to from the site.

This article was posted on February 4, 2002

 



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