Why would you use a proofreader?
Precision Presentation specialises in working with businesses of all sizes. My proofreading service eliminates spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as working on style and tone to present your best image to your prospective clients.
“Poor spelling and grammar costs businesses millions of pounds in lost revenue.” An article on the BBC News website reveals that “a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half.”
A comprehensive grasp of the rules of the English language is no indicator of intelligence or competence. You may be a leader or even the best in your field, yet still struggle with the finer points of syntax and semantics.
Unfortunately, however, customers are critical creatures. They judge your professionalism based on the English on your website. Unfair? Maybe. But if you want to look like an authority in your field, these little details matter a lot.
Have you ever seen “designer” brands on sale at a low price at a street market? It doesn’t take long to spot the fakes. Incorrect spelling is a sure giveaway. Those “Addidas” trainers and that “Channel” cologne? Probably not the real deal.
Poor spelling and grammar flag up that there is something not quite right. Take phishing emails. Often they are littered with errors. Opinion is divided as to why.
Some say that the mistakes are deliberate. This theory proposes that the scammers are looking for gullible, easy targets and only a fool would respond to a poorly-written email.
Others contend that many of these emails originate abroad, written by someone who has English as a second language, or the text has been run through an online translator, so the end result is stilted.
In any case, usually, for most of us, inaccurate English sets off warning bells. Good news for those receiving phishing attempts.
Bad news for thousands of genuine businesses which have orthographical errors on their website. You can’t see them because you wrote the copy. But your customers notice, consciously or unconsciously, and it puts them off. It’s so easy to just try another website if the first one doesn’t take our fancy.
Can’t I just use an online grammar checker?
Automatic grammar checkers use artificial intelligence to try to grasp and manipulate the complexities of the English language. They can be very helpful tools. But machine proofreading has a long way to go before it can can replace skilled human interaction.
A sentence may be grammatically correct but lack any real meaning. The famous example often quoted in linguistics is: Colourless green dreams sleep furiously. Online proofreading programs pass this sentence as perfect because it contains no grammatical errors, even though it is semantically incorrect (nonsense!)
Or consider these two versions of a sentence:
The mined reeds watt it excepts two sea.
The mind reads what it expects to see.
According to spellcheckers, there are no spelling mistakes in the first version, even though six of the eight words are homophones: words that sound the same but have different meaning. When I ran the first sentence through a dedicated grammar checker online, it only underlined three of the six homophones, still leaving the sentence completely meaningless.
Similarly, the meaning of a sentence can be radically altered by punctuation. Consider the following two sentences.
- A woman without her man is nothing.
- A woman: without her, man is nothing.
Now, both these sentences make sense. They are both grammatically correct. But the punctuation in sentence two renders the meaning almost the exact opposite to sentence one.
See more grammar, semantics and spelling tips at the Official Precision Presentation Grammar & Spelling Guide.
Precision Presentation: your second pair of eyes