Let’s take a humorous look at a serious subject. How you write – especially if you’re a business – is important because your readers will make assumptions based on your style. Some will even refuse to read what you write or decide against doing business with you over tiny typos or grammatical errors.
I wonder how many realize what their spell checker does not catch? The title of this post is from one of the many humorous spell checker poems written about spell check programs. Ode to a Spell Checker is another. Whoever composed these went to great lengths to poke fun at spell checking programs, but they do make the holes in the use of such tools painfully obvious.
My inspiration for this post was a funny look at Gross Writing Errors. Although the author uses humor the comments indicate that this subject strikes a nerve with many. I hope readers take this post in the spirit it is intended – and note the suggestions offered.
Are you spelling challenged? Grammatically lost? Or maybe you’re like the author who wrote: “I learned about grammar in grade school and I really wasn’t planning ahead – at least not for my writing career. I didn’t really pay attention to sentence structure and I thought a dangling participle was something obscene. If I only knew the benefits I would reap if I paid attention in 4 th grade. It wasn’t until I took the placement tests for college that I had to admit I was grammatically challenged.”
Now you have a business need or simply love to write and wish you had paid attention. You have several options, so just pick the one that you prefer:
- If you recognize errors when you see them, use the Internet to verify the correct usage or spelling
- Hire someone else to write for you – usually called ghostwriters or copywriters
- Hire a proofreader
Before you hire anyone be sure to read samples of their work. (If you aren’t qualified ask someone you know who is.) Many companies – especially those offshore whose employees are not native users of the language you write in – are not experts at grammar or spelling either. Many will write with more errors than you!
Few write flawlessly. No doubt there are errors in my writing because I can only correct those I recognize. There will be few spelling errors because I loved to read as a child and way back when most books and newspapers were written in proper English. When you read a lot things just “look funny” when they’re not spelled correctly or the grammar is poor.
There is one tip when hiring copywriters or any consultant that seems to hold true. Large businesses will prefer large agencies and small businesses will get along better with individual consultants or collaborative partnerships. They will have similar working styles and decision-making timeframes.
Writing styles vary enormously, so even if you are not qualified to judge the spelling or grammar of a writer do be sure to read their sample works. There are at least four styles and each fits only the readers intended:
- Over-the-top sales styles often used in long one-page sales letter Web sites – Example of a typical long sales letter – these are commonly used because in testing they do work
- Corporate-speak: Examples: Software IBM
- Straight-forward news style writing similar to what you read in this blog
- Friendly, down-home writing as though the readership were all friends and family
There are newer styles aimed at audiences that don’t include me, so this is not intended to be an all-inclusive list – only a warning that you will not be pleased if you hire a writer with the wrong style. Always ask for a sample related to the project you have in mind.
One more thing: if you simply love writing and are creative just write. Don’t worry about the spelling or the grammar or anything else while you’re writing. Get it all down first while the ideas are flowing. The spelling and grammar can be corrected later.
- Article Writing Mistakes to Avoid
- Ten Proofreading Tips
- The Seven Qualities of Highly Successful Web Writing
- Ghostwriting Services
- PersuasiveAdCopy – sales specific copywriting
- Susan Landry, Copywriter
- Writers for Hire Inc. – small collaborative group based in Houston, Tx specializing exclusively in writing
- Writing Wisely