Spell, check, use spell-check and then check again ...
It pays to get a professional proof-reader to examine your copy for typographical and grammatical errors, especially when you are sending your copy to print. However, it is as important to make sure that your emails, blog posts and social media comments are gaff-free too and that might mean you have to check it yourself. So here are a few simple ways that you can eliminate some common errors:
- Use an English dictionary to check spellings and turn on the automatic spell-check in English for your email, word processing and other programmes.
- Read through your copy after you have written it, slowly. Check for words that you know might be wrong - as in our picture example, to “bare with me” is actually an invitation to undress, whereas to “bear with me” asks for patience. Their, there and they’re are easy to mistype (just like to, two and too)!
- By reading each word slowly we can read what is there, not what our brain tells us is meant. So read through twice at least, once for spelling and again for ‘sense’.
- If you read copy backwards you can see typos that otherwise get lost because your mind knows what word to put next - we could see ‘what it if went wrong’ as easily as ‘what if it went wrong’ - and then it could all go wrong!
- Remember that digital spell checkers will only check if a word is spelled correctly. It will not tell you if it is in the right place or if there should be a comma after it. Checking punctuation is a whole new subject but the most commonly seen grammatical error is the misuse of the apostrophe. Rosie’s apples are fruit that belong to Rosie but she would not advertise that she had “apple’s for sale”.
- Beware when you copy and paste text or cut/insert words that you do not remove something you shouldn’t, especially little details like a space between words. Remember that edited text could contain a different font, font size or weight so after spelling, punctuation and sense you should also check for consistency.
For helpful advice in preparing your files for print just ask firstname.lastname@example.org