Why Proofreading Must Never Go Out Of Style

October 25th, 2017

While sometimes quite laughable in a text to a friend, random typos and spellcheck/autocorrect issues can really cramp your style in the professional world. In the best-case scenario, they end up raising an eyebrow. Other times (especially in a job search) they could be a deal breaker.

Spellcheck
Does this tool make us more efficient, or does it mean we don’t review our work quite as closely as we used to in the past? Thinking back to the old days, I remember the Microsoft version that included spellcheck but without the modern function that underlines questionable words as you type them. Even though we had that handy ABC icon, there was nothing that immediately brought attention to where we had to focus, so proofreading and spellcheck still went hand-in-hand.

Regardless of which era of software marked your entry into the spellcheck world, there is one concept that applies to us all: the limitations of spellcheck mean that we still have to manually check our documents for errors. For example, here is just a small list of distinctions that spellcheck cannot make on your behalf:

  • form versus from
  • manger versus manager
  • advise versus advice
  • of versus off
  • collage versus college
  • their versus there versus they’re
  • too versus to
  • its versus it’s
  • and versus an
  • on versus in
  • current versus currant
  • customer versus costumer

Most likely, you have seen a few of those before. Yes, sometimes grammar check can pick up on issues. But like its cousin spellcheck, grammar check is not foolproof. In this case, the old fashioned simplicity of proofreading is one’s best approach.

Autocorrect
At face value, this concept doesn’t seem to apply to professional communication because it’s not usually associated with computers but instead with mobile devices. However, many of us now use phones and tablets to send professional emails, so concerns about autocorrect and its habits apply quite directly to the professional realm.

I’m not sure that any of us knows exactly how autocorrect works. What I do know for sure is that I have, on several occasions, typed a word correctly and had my device change it to another word. Sometimes, the new word isn’t even a real word. Maybe I habitually mistake the spelling of a word often enough where my phone has decided that the wrong word is truly a word. Or perhaps my phone is just asking to be thrown out the window. These things I simply don’t know. What I do know, however, is that autocorrect (somewhat ironically) has made it very important for us to proofread any professional message before hitting the send button.

One final thought on the subject. For those of us who may occasionally use pottymouth words while texting, autocorrect seems to get accustomed to those words (even with voice texting, if anyone is interested) and will not underline those words as misspelled. Now you have another reason to double check and ensure you’re really talking about a Shift Supervisor and not another (likely rather unpleasant) job altogether.

Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist

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