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We'll Give You 60 Seconds to Spot These 11 Writing Errors

Don't let poor proofreading cost you your job
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Office Management

We'll give you 60 seconds to spot these 11 writing errors

Speaker and trainer Dr. Fred Kniggendorf was watching the local news recently and saw a reporter ask a scientist if he had a way to "predict avalanches before they happen." The scientist replied, "Well, I guess there's not much use in predicting them afterwards."

A harmless verbal faux pas on the reporter's part, surely. After all, no one's keeping score. But how often are you letting seemingly innocent communication glitches like the one he made into print, where they're much more noticeable and likely to reflect poorly on you as an employee?

A misplaced decimal, a name spelled wrong, a word misused, a number transposed – brush it off and the consequences can be dire. Don't leave this important task to chance.

Quickly read the following sentences to see if you can pin down what's wrong with them:

1. If you have any further questions, feel free to call Tina or myself.

2. I see no reason to stop now, please continue as planned.

3. The meeting was held just for rosemary and I.

4. The party is over, yet, who knows?

5. I am going to read a book, write some checks, and will be calling home.

6. It lasted 6 hours.

7. Each of the managers are gone today.

8. It will be a tough road to hoe.

9. Nether the list or the books is available.

Learn to proofread with perfection, get a grasp on grammar rules and sharpen your editing skills. If you need your written communication letter-perfect, we can help. Polish your writing with Proofread with Perfection: Proofreading and Editing Techniques for Flawless Communication.

The answers:

1. Kniggendorf has long been on a mission to give reflexive pronouns the boot from business writing. The word 'myself' should be replaced by 'me.' As for the word "further," isn't it just taking up space?

2. When two phrases each work as their own independent sentence, feel free to reach for a semi-colon to join them.

3. The lowercase 'r' in 'rosemary' isn't the only noticeable flaw. It should be 'Rosemary and me.'

4. Here's an instance where a pause that probably sounds natural when spoken comes off as awkward in print. That second comma disrupts the flow of the sentence.

5. This is an example of what Kniggendorf describes as non-parallel structure. No one's going to arrest you for delicately changing tenses at the end of this sentence, but simply 'and call home' is a better way to finish it.

6. Spell out numbers one through nine; when you hit double digits, it's time to go numeric.

7. What is the subject of this sentence? It's the word 'each,' not the word 'managers.' Replace 'are' with 'is' to bring everything into sync.

8. You don't hoe roads; you hoe rows. (Say that three times fast.) "It's just one of those idiosyncrasies many people fall prey to," Kniggendorf says.

9. Follow the either/or and neither/nor rule to set this sentence on the straight and narrow, but only after fixing the spelling of that first word.

On Tuesday, June 9, Fred Kniggendorf, Ph.D., will discuss the most common types of errors, what you can do to catch – and fix – them, and the skills you need to produce effective, error-free communication.

Program highlights:
  • When to use a comma before the seven coordinating conjunctions
  • How to practice proofreading by watching the news on television
  • One very outdated proofing tip you'll hear about at practically every writing seminar
  • Why it's important that you have a style Fred Kniggendorfguide available when you write
  • Should bulleted items have periods? We'll talk about it!
  • Why you need to know basic punctuation rules
  • How to recognize trite and overused business words and phrases ("Pursuant to," "We are in receipt of") and some suggestions of what to use instead
  • What to look for when proofing and editing displayed and paragraphed lists
  • Editing out wasted words (e.g., "that are," "which is," "who was")
  • Why you should read a document aloud. (You'll catch errors and determine how it will sound to the reader as they sub-vocalize.)
Most readers of reports and emails are skeptical of the information contained in documents that are riddled with easily corrected surface errors. Don't let yours be one of them.

Many people have paid $197 for Fred's expert advice. But now you can learn to proofread with perfection on your own time, for just $97! Register for this event on June 9!
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