Keep the wrong out of the write

Recently, someone asked me what I do. After I told her, she exclaimed: “Oh, well I’ll bet you’ve noticed how bad the spelling and sentence construction is on so many things online!”

As a matter of fact, I have.

Actually, it’s pretty hard to miss. News stories on Yahoo! routinely have at least a couple of misspelled words, bad punctuation, or complicated sentences that don’t quite make sense. Sometimes they hit a trifecta with all of the above. Facebook posts and other social media sites are particularly rife with spelling and grammar errors. Not just the posts from your friends, either. Yes, even businesses are getting it wrong.

The horror!

So what gives? Are we getting dumber? Is the glowing computer screen numbing our higher thought processes? Whatever the reason, it’s causing an instant loss of credibility, according to Adrian Snood, a Social Media Manager & Community Relationship Specialist. As Snood notes: “A website or blog is often the first place that you go to learn a little bit more about the individual or company. So if your online content has many spelling errors or grammatical mistakes, then why should your visitors take you seriously?”

Snood speculates that part of the problem lies in the fact that even if spellcheck is used, it can’t identify usage errors such as the incorrect use of “there” for “their”, or “your” for “you’re.” He recommends reading each post ALOUD before publishing it, so you are forced to not rush through the process and so you can hear if there is anything awkward or unclear in your writing.

Of course, not everyone is generating social media or website content. But there are other written communications, such as intra agency briefs, emails and, of course, letters and emails to clients, that can always benefit from a closer look.

Whatever the context of our written communication, we would all be well served by this modern day reworking of an old adage:  “Read twice, post once.”

June 7, 2013 · Posted by in copywriting  


One Response to “Keep the wrong out of the write”

  1. Misteaks, we all make ‘em! : VerveCast on June 10th, 2013 12:04 pm

    [...] post titled Keep the wrong out of the write brought up the issue of errors in online media. Typos and grammatical errors are commonplace now, [...]

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