Proofreading: It’s A Dirty Job, But Someone’s Gotta Do It

By: Maria P. : August 2018 : | Insight  | Content Development  | Traditional Services 

Just because writers are in the business of “wording” doesn’t mean they are 100% free from making facepalm-inducing grammar mistakes (myself included). Sometimes you’re in a rush to meet a deadline, and you don’t notice you have misused a word. Sometimes you’ve written and edited and written and edited the same piece so many times, you go blind to blatant mistakes. That’s why it’s important to get a second (or third, or fourth) set of eyes on your work…cue the proofreader.

Proofreaders are known by many monikers. Grammar Guru. Word Nerd. Semantics Stickler. Communications Commando. But no matter what you call them, there’s no doubt a definite need for these purveyors of proper English and grammar. And the reason is simple…Mistakes (no matter how small) can create a negative brand impression and ultimately diminish your brand’s reputation and integrity. Properly proofread, error-free work creates a trustable impression with your audience and ensures your messaging is clear and concise.

At ST&P, we get it. Which is why when you work with us, you can rest assured that your project is backed by a dedicated team of professionals (in this case grammar professionals) whose life’s work it is to ensure everything created and produced is easy to understand, compelling, and mistake-free.

Some Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Making Them

Your and You’re

  • “Your” indicates possession–something belonging to you
  • “You’re” is short for “you are”

Its and It’s

  • “Its” indicates possession
  • “It’s” is ONLY ever used when short for “it is”

Fewer and Less

  • “Fewer” refers to items you can count individually
  • “Less” refers to a commodity that you can’t count individually

To, Too, and Two

  • To means “towards” and is used in the infinitive form of a verb
  • Too means “also” or “as well”
  • Two refers to the number 2

Amount and Number

  • “Amount” refers to a commodity, which can’t be counted (for instance, water)
  • “Number” refers to individual things that can be counted (for example, birds)

Then and Than

  • “Then” is used to indicate something following something else in time
  • “Than” is used in comparisons

Affect/Effect

  • “Affect” means to influence or have an impact on something
  • “Effect” refers to the result of being affected by something

Who, Whom, and That

Arguably, one of the most confusing rules in the English language!

  • “Who” refers to the subject of a sentence; “whom” refers to the object
  • “Who” and “whom” work in the same way as “he” or “him”
  • Who did this? He did”–so “who” is correct. “Whom should I invite? Invite him”– so “whom” is correct
  • “That” should be used when referencing a thing, not a person

It’s easy for grammar and punctuation mistakes to slip by, especially when you’re proofing your own piece, which is why it’s always a good idea to get another set of eyes on your work. Even if not a legitimate proofreader, getting someone else’s opinion and feedback can really help in catching and saving you from embarrassing grammatical errors.

What other common grammar mistakes have you run into? Let us know in the comments section below.

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