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Feb 05

The power of proofreading

Using good (or at least audience-appropriate) grammar is a way of showing a baseline level of respect for the person or people you’re addressing. This is especially important in formal communications where you don’t know your audience personally, such as most business correspondence, including email, and early-stage online dating overtures. You wouldn’t post, in a public place, a picture of yourself in a ratty bathrobe, with spinach in your teeth and free-range hair. Even your friends don’t really want to see you that way.

Written communication has the same standards, or should. Just as you “proofread” your appearance before you go out in the world where people can see you–a quick look in the mirror to ensure¬†that hair, face, teeth, clothes all reach a basic level of hygiene and maintenance–you shouldn’t release anything you’ve written into the world without reading it over, in its entirety, just to make sure you haven’t made some glaringly obvious gaffe. Especially online, where autocorrect is not always on your side.

A genuine mistake is embarrassing enough–when you’ve typed “Wednesday, May 17th” when May 17th turns out to be a Thursday–but realizing you’ve just invited your date to a concert on “Wendesday, May 17rd,” when you know perfectly well how to make that right, is a whole other level of ouch. Even worse is knowing that your date now either thinks you’re an idiot or knows¬†that you couldn’t be bothered to take 0.08 seconds to read over your message before sending it. What does that carelessness say about you, and about how much respect you have for your date?

So always, always proofread. It takes hardly any time at all. You may not prevent every mistake, but the ones you catch will make the extra seconds or minutes sooooooo worthwhile.

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