Why typos and spelling mistakes really do matter

Yesterday I read an article by Lucy Kellaway on why typos and spelling mistakes don’t really matter.

Last night, while concentrating hard on some writing, I was notified of a tweet. The tweet moderately insulted an organisation for which I volunteer. My blood suddenly boiled, but my eagerness to reply with a sarcastic remark was checked by my belief that there are no winners when people argue in public on social media.

I bit my lip and carried on writing, although I was still annoyed.

Why typos and spelling mistakes really do matter

As I was finishing for the night, I read the tweet again. I realised that the tweeter was actually referring to themselves in a self-deprecating manner and that lack of punctuation in 140 characters had caused me to misunderstand it.

Good job I hadn’t ranted and raved. It would have been very unfair on the unsuspecting tweeter who had intended no offence.

Typos and spelling mistakes cause misunderstanding. And arguments. And worse, if the discussion is between organisations, groups or nations.

That’s why typos and spelling mistakes really do matter.

• by Robert Zarywacz
partner @ Zarywacz | proofreader @ | Please call 0333 0444 354 or email  for a proofreader.

Don’t leave proofreading until it’s too late

When you’ve spent a lot of time and money on the writing, design and layout of a document or web site, it’s a good idea to make the most of your investment by ensuring that there are no spelling, punctuation or grammar errors.

A good proofreader not only picks out errors and typos, but also highlights any inconsistencies and issues with meaning and accuracy.

What if a price is wrong? How much would that cost your business? And is the date correct for your event?

By picking these up before printing or publication, proofreading prevents the unnecessary cost of reprinting or having to issue corrections.

Don't leave proofreading until it is to late

Build proofreading into your project plan to enjoy the full benefit. If you allow a specified period for research, writing, design and production, give equal consideration to how much time is required to proofread a document and then make corrections.

On several occasions we’ve been called in to proofread documents that have needed major rewrites on the day before going to print. Sometimes the client only had time to make very basic corrections to meet their tight deadline. This meant the finished publication was passable but not as effective as it should have been.

Planning the right amount of time needed for thorough proofreading can save you money as well as ensuring that your material is the best it can be and achieves the results you want.

• by Robert Zarywacz
partner @ Zarywacz | proofreader @ | Please call 0333 0444 354 or email  for a proofreader.

Confusion when the day and date don’t match

Confusion when the day and date don't matchWe recommend always checking the day of the week and the date do not conflict when you publish them in any advertising, marketing or PR material.

Why does it matter?

If you’re staging an event and want to attract visitors, they will be confused if you say it’s taking place on Friday 14 June when 14 June is a Saturday.

It could cause you hassle as people contact you unnecessarily to find out if it’s on the Friday or Saturday, while some people could turn up on the Friday and be disappointed or angry, and some could just not bother turning up.

It could be even worse if a speaker or performer gets the day wrong and leaves you with an audience with nothing to see or hear demanding their money back.

Just checking the day and date will cost you a minute, but prevent unnecessary hassle, embarrassment and loss of business.

It’s worth doing.

• by Robert Zarywacz
partner @ Zarywacz | proofreader @ | Please call 0333 0444 354 or email  for a proofreader.

does CONsisTENCY maTTer when the COMMittee writeS a document?

does CONsisTENCY maTTer when the COMMittee writeS a document?Often we are asked by organisations to proofread long documents that have been written by a number of contributors.

When managed well, these documents are consistent throughout, but sometimes they read as if they are a collection of separate documents bound together as one.

There can be a lack of consistency in:

  • writing style – from use of capitals to variations in the use of frequently used words and phrases
  • tone – some writers sounding chatty while others sounding very formal
  • corporate identity – conflicting descriptions of the business and its products and/or services
  • layout – some authors using lots of bullet points and others writing very long paragraphs

Does consistency in writing matter?

It depends whether you want your business or organisation to appear as a unified team working together or as a collection of individuals who work in isolation.

Which do you think customers would prefer?

But the proofreader will knock it into shape

Can we? We can highlight inconsistencies and recommend changes, but sometimes the inconsistencies are so big and there are so many that whole pages or sections need rewriting. These are different tasks to proofreading and the document will need to be checked again once the text has been edited.

Sometimes these inconsistencies are discovered just as the document is about to go to print or be published and there is no time for a major rewrite.

Plan proofreading into production early on

This can be avoided by having the text proofread at an earlier stage or, even better, having a copywriter take all contributions and edit them into a single text that is consistent throughout.

Document writing problems and how to avoid them

Visit our web site for more about how to prevent some of the problems that occur when a committee tries to write a document.

If you’re about to produce a document or have one that needs editing:

  • call 0333 0444 354 or email  if you need a proofreader or editor

• by Robert Zarywacz
partner @ Zarywacz | proofreader @ | Please call 0333 0444 354 or email  for a proofreader.

Stop the language – I want to get off!

Do you like the way language is changing?

The way we speak and write now reflects our 24/7/365 lifestyle. Hm, did I really write that?

I wouldn’t usually write that way, but that’s how our language is changing, whether we like it or not.

This presents a challenge to proofreaders. How do we know which changes to accept and which to reject?

Looking back to the 1990s – yes, that far back – I used to write a monthly page on ‘e-commerce’ for a business magazine. It was a new activity then, but now that so many businesses have an online shop the term doesn’t seem to be used so much. The hyphens in ‘e-mail’ and ‘on-line’ seem to have disappeared too, helped possibly by Apple’s iMac and iPhone products.

Since then ‘weblog’ appeared, only to be shortened to ‘blog’, while ‘blogging’ became a commonly used verb. ‘Tweet’, ‘share’ and ‘like’ have also taken on new meanings. And I won’t demonstrate ‘selfie’ here.

For me, the biggest test for any language change is: does it sound natural? While the rules can say that a certain usage is wrong, if that’s how the population speaks and writes, common usage makes it acceptable. Often I correct announcers on radio and television in my mind, but it’s too late if common usage has already established the change. We can’t go backwards.

Sometimes we have to let go. Grinding our teeth in disapproval isn’t healthy. And we don’t want our writing to sound as archaic as Chaucer or Shakespeare, especially if it’s sales material and we want people alive now to understand a message.

When we are proofreading, we always bear the rules in mind while considering how they affect the tone and understanding of the text for today’s readers. We don’t always like the way language is changing, but do agree that it has to develop to stay alive. It’s certainly interesting.

What do you think?

• Who am I? Robert Zarywacz | partner in Zarywacz | proofreader at | Please call us on 0333 0444 354 to ask about our proofreading services

A good time to spring clean your web site

I include the date when I name some types of document and for the first time this year entered last year’s date by mistake. Amending it reminded me to check dates when typing or writing to ensure I remember the year. It seems just as we get used to one year, another comes along.

It also reminded me how important it is to check dates and other time-sensitive information on web sites and documents. It’s not good for a business to look out of date because details have not been checked and updated.

Once you start reviewing your web site, it’s surprising what you find no longer correct or relevant.

Although it’s winter, it’s a good time to spring clean your web sites to ensure you get the most value from them.

• Who am I? Robert Zarywacz | partner in Zarywacz | proofreader at | Please call us on 0333 0444 354 to ask about our proofreading services

%d bloggers like this: