Plain English

Poor grammar and words misspelt, text talk and bastardised words. You may wonder what all the fuss is about? Why some of us make such a big deal about grammar and spelling. Why a sign declaring “your all invited” gets my goat so much, or “Good food at it’s best” screaming at me from an advert makes my toes curl. Why knowing “they’re going to see their friends over there” is important.

Whilst a classic newspaper faux pas might make good fodder for Facebook jokes, the reality is your reputation is at stake if you go in to print or online with something that is so clearly un-edited. What you write and how it’s written says a lot about your company and what it represents. If you are shoddy with spelling it gives the impression you’ll be shoddy with your work. If you play games with your grammar you may find your proposal is passed over for someone slightly more eloquent.

I often get asked about who employs a freelance editor/sub editor or even a writer? The answer is everyone. If you send letters, have a website, produce information leaflets, post on social media, have a blog, or offer any kind of written material to customers then it’s a good idea to consider adding a proof reader to your contacts. Of course, if you’ve written a book it’s essential, not just for spellchecking. And please, do not even go down the “but I have spellcheck on my computer” route. If your words represent what you do for a living (and your reputation) and you know you can’t write for toffee, you need someone to look at your words for you.

Obviously you may not have the time, money or inclination to have everything checked and that’s sometimes understandable. But some things really should be read, proofed, edited, checked and checked again. Here’s my list of the essentials you should have at least proof read by someone other than yourself.

Your resume!   Resume

Your website.

websites should be well written

Any reference material that you give out on a regular basis, for example rate cards.

leaflets

Anything that will go in to print to the public.

bogging

Anything you are submitting for testing or a board that will be judging it. Thesis

PR material including posters and adverts, no matter how simple.

PR material

 

Check and check again

You would be surprised how often you can look at something and not see the mistake. Even the best of sub editors will miss things. But you are more likely to have your mistakes spotted if you use a professional.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be looking at what the roles of an editor, sub editor and proof reader are in more detail. More importantly, how they differ from each other and how each aspect could help your business helping you to make informed choices on what you and your business need.

For now, here are just a few examples of why you really ought to consider a professional for the job:

Actual quotes taken from resumes:

Hobbies: “enjoy cooking Chinese and Italians”

“I’m intrested to here more about that. I’m working today in a furniture factory as a drawer”

“Career break in 1999 to renovate my horse”

 

Read all about it

Here are just a couple of the many cringe-worthy headlines that have made it to print..

 

Mississippi misspelt in print
those darn S’s and P’s
It's all about the pun
Unintentional pun?

 

For more information on the work I do please take a look at my website

And of course, if you spot a mistake be sure to let me no…

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