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August 16, 2010

“Low Price Guarranty” – The disturbing reality of errors!

In this post, Jen discusses how more attention to detail is essential …

Eight inch lettersJen Sorensen stating “Low Price Guarranty”…. yes, sadly enough that’s what I viewed driving down the main road in a nearby town at a large automobile dealership selling one of America’s top brands of vehicles.

Earlier this month in North Carolina, a road contractor was hired to paint the road to notify drivers that a high school was nearby….the outcome….huge white letters spanning two lanes of traffic stating “SHCOOL”.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame star for Julia Louis-Dreyfus was misspelled originally, leaving out the “o” in “Louis” and the hyphen before “Dreyfus”. This error has now been corrected.

In 1962, when the Mariner 1 space probe was sent on a mission to Venus, it was completely destroyed within minutes due to a programmer failing to insert the correct mathematical symbol into a computer code. This typo was valued around $80 million.

Last year, Chile released 1.5 million coins with “CHIIE” instead of “CHILE” when an engraver left out the bottom portion of the letter L.

Some of these examples are obviously more grand than others, but all in all they show a lack of attention to detail. The impact of typos, spelling errors and grammatical errors plays a part in how companies, organizations or even countries can and will be viewed.

I, for one, can say that if I were in the market to buy a new or used vehicle, I would not darken the doorstep of the automobile dealership I mentioned above. How could I trust that the vehicle inspections, paperwork, maintenance records and any other related material were done with accuracy when a spelling error of that proportion made it to an extremely large sign in front of their business?

Now, I know we are all human. With that comes human error. But, crutches do exist for these types of mistakes. We all know of spell check. This is a great tool, but only a tool – it is not the saving grace of all writing and content errors. Please utilize it for the value it does bring. Knowing that we need more than just spell check, I found a site that I felt had a list of very helpful proofreading tips, which I have outlined below. I think that each and every one of us needs to make it a goal to aim for perfection in our writing, whether it be essays, emails, blogs, articles, proposals or whatever project you have at hand.

8 Proofreading Tips and Techniques

1. Concentration is Key
2. Put It On Paper
3. Watch Out for Homonyms
4. Watch Out for Contractions and Apostrophes
5. Check the Punctuation
6. Read It Backwards
7. Check the Numbers
8. Get Someone Else to Proofread It

Further details on these outlines tips are given on the site.

If you have any additional thoughts and/or helpful tips on proofreading and perfecting writing skills, please share!