Whether you do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you, proofreading is essential for everyone, from social media enthusiasts to CEOs. Proofreading is an undervalued step in the writing process that many, if not most people skip. Here’s why you should incorporate it into everything you write.
1. Inconsistent voice
I’d argue that the importance of proofreading is related to much more than simply making sure your grammar is correct. It’s about presenting a consistent image and voice in your writing, whether you’re writing witty tweets or business proposals. You don’t want to go from saying “wassup” to your readers to questioning the validity of the use of colloquialisms in writing. Well you wouldn’t say that because it would be hypocritical, but also because switching back and forth between language styles is confusing and frustrating for readers. Consistency will make people more likely to read your writing to the end.
2. Incorrect idioms
One of my biggest pet peeves and biggest sources of amusement is incorrect idioms. Many people take well-known phrases and either say them just a little bit off or they mix them with another popular saying, making it lose all of its initial meaning. For example: when people say “for all intensive purposes,” rather than the correct phrase “for all intents and purposes.” When you do this, your words lose their weight and their meaning. As a side note, I’d recommend avoiding idioms as much as possible. They can make your writing sound tired and generic.
Homophones are words that sound like each other, but mean completely different things. A prime example of a homophone is: there/they’re/their. The correct use of these words has been a struggle for writers for centuries, and it’s been causing pain to pretentious readers for just as long. So proofread your work, and if you don’t know the difference between these words, hire someone to proofread it for you.
There are two kinds of people: those who use too many commas and those who use too few. I tend to err on the side of fewer commas, but either side can be detrimental to your writing. For example, if you say: “Let’s eat Grandma,” rather than “Let’s eat, Grandma,” you suddenly sound like a cannibal. On an unrelated note, it seems pretty callous to go for your own grandma, even if you are a cannibal. On the, flip, side too many, commas can, chop up your, sentences, making them frustrating to, read. So make sure to scan over your writing and double check comma placement before you post, email, or publish your words.
5. Flawed Arguments
As a final note, I’d like to point out that a lot of people post to social media, blogs, or even write entire books that have flawed arguments. Proofreading can help you avoid using skewed statistics or mistyped quotations. These things can derail any argument you make and invalidate even your valid points, since you lose your credibility by making these mistakes. This is no big deal during a heated argument on Facebook, but it can lose you clients in the business world and even cause scandals, if the error is particularly egregious.
So it’s pretty evident that proofreading is important, whether you’re just an average Joe posting to Instagram or you’re writing an important presentation. It can make a significant difference in how people view you and your work. Like it or not, errors in your writing leave an impression on people. So leave a positive impression by proofreading your work, either on your own or by hiring a professional to do it for you. If you would like to hire a proofreader, I am in the market for freelance work. Head over to my contact page to send me an inquiry!