Article writing tips, techniques, strategies

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What’s Wrong With Proofreading? - By Elaine Currie, BA (Hons)

More Tips For New Writers (Part III)

Writing for your home based business just as important as any other kind of business writing. When you have an online business, you will be judged by the quality of your emails, advertisements, articles etc as well as by the textual content of your website.

I recently read an article in which the author encouraged people to write articles in order to promote their home based internet business. The writer of this article was of the opinion that punctuation, spelling etc, were not particularly important. His advice was to give your article a quick once-over with your PC’s spellchecker and then submit it without spending too much time on it or worrying unduly about the finer details. To him, the important thing was that you should write whether or not you had reached the appropriate educational standard to be able to write correctly.

In an effort to keep up with modern trends, I considered this premise and attempted to embrace it. Maybe I am totally old-fashioned but, I couldn’t do it. I simply cannot accept this idea that we should treat business writing as a casual pastime, where articles are to be carelessly and quickly executed because they are of limited importance. Of course I believe that people should be free to express themselves in writing even if they lack formal education but I don’t believe we are helping them or ourselves by lowering our standards.

Although I applaud him for encouraging people to write, I simply cannot agree with this author’s notion that correct grammar and punctuation are unimportant. Even slightly faulty grammar can render a written work incomprehensible. The phrase "Content is king" is overused nowadays. Although content is often high in a list of important elements, I cannot agree that content alone will make up for poor craftsmanship when it comes to writing. Offering slapdash work is an insult to the reader; the implication is that the reader either will not know any better, or is not sufficiently important to bother about. I would like to make it clear that I am not referring to the unfortunate mistake that slips through the proofreading net. There is nobody on this planet who has never made a mistake. Publishing an error takes a bit of living down but the only sure way of avoiding mistakes is by doing absolutely nothing. The thing that offends me is the "doesn’t matter", "It’ll do" sloppy attitude.

I have seen emails and web pages written by people for whom English is obviously not their first language. While I greatly admire these people for learning a second language to a standard where they can write it fluently (not something I can do), I cannot overlook the errors. Some made me laugh whilst others were embarrassing. Publication of these errors could, with proper editing, have been avoided without losing the fresh content and individuality of the writing. Proofreading, copywriting and editing services are not hard to find, they are widely advertised on the Internet. A little money spent on these services can make a life or death difference to an email campaign or website.

Although I try to make allowances, be more modern in outlook, take a more relaxed attitude, and so on, I keep coming back to the fact that writing is about communication. In order to communicate effectively, writing must be performed correctly and there is nothing wrong in employing a professional to add the final polish.

If all else fails, I will rely on the old adage that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

This is one of a series of articles published by the author, Elaine Currie, BA(Hons) at http://www.huntingvenus.com The author’s monthly newsletter is available free from mailto:networkerhvm@ReportsNetwork.com

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