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Home » Professional Writing » Please, proofread everything. Even emails.

Please, proofread everything. Even emails.

typing emailI know. I know. Of course a writer says proofread. A teacher, too. But, really, this time, please listen. Not proofing, even those everyday emails, can really affect my perception of you.

I recently received an email from someone on a personal matter. It was so riddled with typos and incorrect words and phrases that I had a hard time making it through to the end. Then, when I finally did, I just laughed. No, the subject matter wasn’t life or death, and the writer probably cranked it out on a phone or tablet. But, it doesn’t matter. When the email is written, all your reader has to go on is your words. I read emails like these and think, “What a ding dong.” Is that how you want people to see you?

So take the time. Run spell check if spelling is a weak point. And for the love of Mike, please re-read them out loud. I promise you’ll catch those errors that make you look stupid. I’m sorry to be harsh, but let’s be honest here.

It’s not asking too much to expect you to proofread your emails. As your reader, I deserve the few extra minutes it takes for you to make sure your email is correct. I’m not talking about holding you to the fire over tricky rules here, like watching for the Oxford comma or the use effect or affect. I’m talking about typing “he’s decision” instead of “his decision” or “choices” instead of “chooses”. Really, pretty basic stuff here.

What’s worse? When you’re trying to sound as formal and stiff as you can (so you’re already working against yourself because you’re trying too hard to write outside of your comfort level), and your email is full of mistakes. You just look silly. No one wants that.

So, please, not as a teacher or writer, but just as a reader. I ask you. Please, please proofread your emails. (Unless you’re trying to give me a chuckle, in which case, keep on keeping on.)

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