Have you seen the term, “Grammar Nazi”? It’s generally used in a slightly derogatory way when one of the people who care about language point out flawed application of its use. Some people don’t care about mistakes in grammar, the wrong use of a word, or where an apostrophe is placed. But many do.
The reason why it’s important in business is that mistakes erode your authority. Who wants to have their advertising turn into a meme that makes fun of the mistakes in language? Business writing is important, so important that it’s worth the time to make sure that permanent copy is proofread before publishing. If a goof gets out there, fix it as soon as you realize it needs to be fixed.
Spellcheck Is Sneaky and Not To Be Trusted
Spellcheck has great benefit in putting those red rickrack lines under words that are not spelled correctly. But many times a word is spelled right and still is wrong because it’s the wrong word for the sentence. If you have autocorrect, it isn’t always trustworthy either. Both tools are good tools, but they have real limitations.
For instance, consider these sentences:
- Peaking traffic shows that people peek at what piques their interest. Peak — Peek — Pique
- It’s true that its placement of the apostrophe indicates possession, but not always. It’s — Its
- They’re putting their trust there. They’re — Their — There
- If the belt’s too loose, you’ll lose it. Loose — Lose
Every single word that has been used is correct. They happen to be correct for placement, too, but if they were mixed up, the sentence would sound the same although the meaning would be goofy. What happens then?
The Cost of Copy Errors
People who don’t care about such things won’t notice. But people who do care will think less of your business because copy errors show a lower standard. This lack of professionalism has a cost, and the cost is sometimes counted in lost sales. It always costs some prestige.
It is a sad fact of life: even professional writers make mistakes. But they show their professionalism by fixing their mistakes and by proofreading so the mistakes are caught before publication, if possible.
One of the nicest things about digital marketing is the fact that I can go back to something that was written and fix my mistakes. This can’t happen with something that has been printed on paper, so if your writing is being published on paper, proofread carefully!
In fact, it’s a good idea to proofread everything, just in case you missed a mistake.