Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Never underestimate the importance of proofreading...

I'm well aware that other people might not be as obsessed with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation as I am. However, everyone should realise that they need to have a basic grasp of the language when publishing anything which will be read by other people.

I do a lot of proofreading in my spare time and always have done. I often proofread documents for friends, and have also been considering doing some freelance proofreading. I also proofread menus, leaflets, posters and so on when I'm out and about... it's some kind of compulsion. I know it's not the most exciting skill I could possess, but I do think it's a pretty essential one.

The language you use is a massive part of your brand, whether that brand is your personal brand or your organisation's brand. In my opinion, your brand is tarnished if your work is littered with typos, punctuation errors and glaring grammatical mistakes. I will actually think twice about using a company if their website or signage is full of errors. Similarly, I'm put off blog posts which haven't been proofed properly. It only takes ten minutes to read through that blog post, web page or the new sign for the front of your store, so why are there so many errors out there? I understand that some people don't pay much attention to detail, but it always shocks me when massive companies quite clearly haven't appointed a proofreader, or when people have obviously just scanned over that brand new sign or new web page then paid for it without making sure that it's absolutely right.

My top five peeves:

1. People who add an apostrophe when they're referring to the plural form of various nouns. Examples: CD's, menu's, potato's. Sometimes you just don't need an apostrophe! Why would you need one in this example, when you've been taught that the apostrophe is only used to indicate possession or a missing letter? COME ON!

2. People who use 'loose' instead of 'lose'. Example: 'I need to loose weight.' Aaaaargh. It actually hurts my eyes.

3. The use of 'would of' instead of 'would have', or 'could of' instead of 'could have'. In which universe was this ever correct? This error is creeping into more and more blog posts... beware!

4. People who add an apostrophe at the end of 'its'. Example: 'The cat couldn't believe its' luck.' There is never ever an apostrophe at the end of 'its'! Either use 'its' without an apostrophe (which would be correct in the example above), or 'it's' instead of 'it is'. If everyone could obey this rule, my blood pressure would probably come down to a normal level.

5. People who can't use a semi colon correctly. The poor semi colon is very much abused and is often used instead of a comma, rather than reserving it for pauses which need more strength than a comma but don't quite merit a full stop. If in doubt, just don't use it!

Any other avid proofreaders out there? Please bear in mind that I've proofed this blog post VERY carefully to avoid any embarrassment!


  1. While not strictly a "Grammar" thing, I'm also going to throw it out there that I hate people who deliberately over-abbreviate or misspell words which probably would have taken less time and effort to just write correctly!

    Today's examples include "Cld" and "Hungova"

    1. I agree... 'beta' is another excruciating example!


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