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  • Writer's pictureAmy

Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation Count

Grammar and punctuation counts

I’m an accountant, not an English teacher. I wanted to emphasize this before I launch into my next rant. It is a blatant error if I notice problematic grammar, spelling, or punctuation. I might entertain the idea that spell check changed your phrase

“decorating outside” to “defecating outside” but you probably should have caught that during one of your proofreading sessions. And, yes, I will giggle about your goof-up but, in the end, I still have to deduct a couple of points.

So, here is how I feel about professional communication and grammar, spelling, and punctuations errors …

Emails: 75% free of errors.

Handwritten signs: 95% free of errors.

Typed signs: 99% free of errors.

Resumes: 99.5% free of errors. AND you should seriously consider using bullets instead of a narrative that is takes up 2/3 of the page. But that is another discussion.

Academic projects: 70%, 80%, 90%, and 95% free of errors for freshmen,

sophomores, juniors, and seniors, respectively. Graduate work should also be at least 95% free of errors.

Any correspondence leaving the division or the company should be 99.9% free of error.

Anything you are sending to the printers for a batch of more than 100 copies should have a couple of proofreaders so your finished product is 99.9% error free. I’m sure the scribes back in 1631 thought they were doing an awesome job of copying the Bible when they wrote, “Thou shalt commit adultery” but they were still probably fired.

As a side note, tattoos should ALWAYS be 100% free of spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors.

Engaging colleagues, proofreaders, and editors early in the process are great ways to prevent some of these problems. Boning up on your grammar, punctuation, and spelling are also great ways of preventing embarrassing moments. The Grammar Girl podcasts are short, digestible pieces of information geared to help us non-English teachers become more aware of our shortfalls.

How do you mitigate risks of publishing written mistakes?

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