We all know spelling is important – it’s one of the first things we’re challenged with in education. But the reality is that we do still make mistakes, not least because modern technology makes it all too easy to accidentally hit the wrong key or unknowingly repeat yourself after pausing for a moment’s thought.
That said, modern technology also has a lot of handy features, and either way there really is no excuse for sloppy spelling in business materials! And when reports from the likes of BBC suggest that spelling mistakes could be costing us millions, it’s worth getting picky about.
How can you avoid becoming one of the offenders?
There are some simple steps you can follow to help avoid embarrassing typos,and they also ensure there are no accompanying grammar mistakes: :
- Don’t rush it. Take your time to think carefully about the words you are using – they really are important, and not just in the way you spell them either. Taking your time will also help you keep your copy concise and meaningful.
- Pay attention to any auto checks – they shouldn’t always be taken as gospel but they do highlight words and sentences to inspect closely.
- Create a style guide – although there are certain grammar rules that everyone can follow, you’ll also have specific rules for your business. For example, how you write your brand name, how you use hyphenation, how you capitalise. Keep a style guide that can be shared among everyone who writes for your business – it will help keep things consistent and allow writers and proofreaders to avoid deliberation or guesswork.
- Read over your work. It sounds obvious but lots of people don’t. Read back over your work, out loud if you can – you’ll spot mistakes more easily that way.
- Once you’ve read it, ask some else to as well. There’s a lot to be said for a fresh pair of eyes. Someone who doesn’t know the thought process behind the copy will pick up any problems you may have read on autopilot. A good proofreader will also read it more than once – they might do so out loud, backwards, upside down, or however works! Whatever their trick is, they are worth investing in.
- If your copy is going through feedback and amends, be sure to repeat steps 2, 4 and 5 when it comes to the final sign off. If others have been editing your work, commenting, or tracking changes, errors may have slipped in.