The Cost of Bad Spelling and Grammar

Typos are everywhere. It’s normal but did you know they can also seriously impact your message and reputation. Even for a meticulous proofreader like me, it is difficult to see mistakes in our own work. I can easily spot a mistake in someone else’s document at first glance, but delay posting my writing for fear of any blind spots when checking my own content.

Spelling and grammar checkers go some way (Like in MS Word or Grammarly), but even they may not pick up incorrect word usage ( for example, thought versus though) and are no substitute for a trained human brain reading and comprehending content.

The real effect was reported in an article by the BBC in 2011 in an interview with Charles Duncombe who stated that “A single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half.” That was 7 years ago and the sheer volume of digital content has exploded in the interim. Given that we communicate online via the written word, an error can seriously impact your message, as well as your level of credibility, professionalism, and attention to detail. If a customer sees a lack of attention in your written word on your commercial website, they may ultimately doubt the quality of your offering.

The most famous impact of incorrect punctuation was a cost of $2.13 million for a tiny, misplaced comma, which allowed for an ambiguous interpretation of a crucial part of a contract between Aliant Inc. and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission. So while some are funny, some simply unfortunate, typos and incorrect punctuation can have serious repercussions.

So what can we do? Well, there is no substitute for having someone else take a fresh look at your writing, especially if you already know you have issues with spelling and punctuation. If you are confident in the quality of your writing, it is much easier to spot mistakes on a printout than scrolling online, so print your work and check it in sections in a way that helps you to look at it freshly.

Of course, if you need some help and want to stay paperless, contact me and we can talk about how I can help you avoid small blunders that could have a huge impact.

Thanks for reading,
Emer

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