Why is proofreading important?

I have noticed a lot of people seem to have stopped caring about proper spelling and grammar. For some reason, they think it is not important and think they can rely on spell check for any spelling or grammatical mistakes.

However, relying on spell check could potentially cause confusion as it cannot differentiate between homonyms if you use the wrong one. For example; say you wanted to say, “I would like to meet with you about writing an article about all the books you have read” and you typed, “Eye wood like two meat with ewe about righting an article about awl the books you halve red”. Spell check would not mark it wrong because those are all actual words even though they are not the ones that would make the sentence grammatically correct.

I have also noticed that spell check will sometimes tell you something is wrong even when it is correct. For example; it often mixes up the words “its” and it’s” as well as the words “lets” and “let’s”. “Its” is a possessive term meaning something belongs to it (ie: I took the CD out of its protective case) while “it’s” is a contraction of “it is” (ie: “It’s a nice day today”). It also tends to mix up “lets” as in “The man lets the dog inside” with the word “let’s” as in “Let’s go to the park” which is an abbreviation of “Let us go to the park”.

Another reason for proofreading is the importance of word placement and commas. If somebody says to you, “A lady walked through a door named Jane”, that implies that the door’s name is Jane. The correct sentence structure would be “A lady named Jane walked through the door”. I am sure many of us have seen a particular meme that illustrates the importance of commas (for those of you not familiar with that term, a meme in internet terms is an image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users”. This particular meme says something to the effect of “I like to eat my family and my pets” without using commas and then says something to the effect of “Don’t be a psycho. Use commas.” The reason for this is without commas, the phrase means you eat your family and you eat your pets. With commas, it says you like to eat, you like your family, and you like your pets.

When it comes to commas; there are some times when the order of the words is important and some times when the order of the words is not important. Any time you have more than two items grouped together, you are supposed to use commas to separate them. If you said “I like roasting marshmallows, computers, and music”, then the order of the words completely changes the meaning of the sentence. In the sentence I just provided, it implies, I like roasting marshmallows, roasting computers, and roasting music. Even though most people would understand what was meant to say, the sentence would still create a funny picture in my mind since roasting computers and music could be a very dangerous fire hazard. However, if I said, “I like computers, music, and roasting marshmallows”, the sentence creates a much safer picture. If you say, “I like playing cards, sports, and music”, then the order of the words would not matter since you play cards, you play sports, and you play music.

There are words that are often confused by people as well. Some of the most common words that are most often used incorrectly are “effect”, “affect”, “accept”, “except”, “stationary”, and “stationery”. Coming up with good examples of the correct usage of each of this words would probably make this blog post more like a novel so I am going to use the last two words of “stationary” and “stationery”. “Stationary” means something that does not move while “stationery” means something to write on or write with. If somebody wrote that they wanted a stationery bike, that would imply that they wanted to write with the bike. That would either be a very small bike or the person would be extremely strong; not to mention the fact that you cannot write with a bike.

If a person is lazy about spelling and grammar, it could make that person look lazy and unprofessional to potential employers or clients. On the other hand, having a document of quality spelling and grammar makes a person more likely to get hired. At Friendly Computer Help, proofreading is one of our specialties. If you would like help proofreading a document, a website, a blog, or even a social media post, feel free to contact us. We would be glad to help you. At the moment, the only social media sites we cannot proofread posts on are sites like Twitter because the limited characters make it difficult to create a post with quality grammar.

Michelle Russell

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