It is a cliché, and a tautology, but you really do only get one chance to make a first impression.

Like it or not, people will make assumptions about you, or your organisation, from that first impression, so don’t give them the chance to assume negatively because of a few mistakes.

The first thing they see could be your website, signs outside your shopfront, a menu for your restaurant, or your job application.

It’s very easy to make silly mistakes and typos, but it’s hard to find them in your own writing. We all tend to see what we expect to see, and after reading something over and over to get it just right, those mistakes are difficult to spot. Maybe writing just isn’t your thing: that doesn’t mean your message doesn’t deserve to be heard and understood.

A proofreader or copy editor can look at your writing with both a fresh eye and objectivity. They can improve the flow by offering better word choices, removing clichés, tautologies and repetition, and by tidying up spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting. They can also identify gaps in the writing that might not be evident to the writer. The writer has the whole story in their head, but since the reader can’t know what’s in there, they must work only with what is on the page and in their imagination.

Beyond first impressions, the placement of punctuation makes an enormous difference to the meaning of a sentence. A well-placed comma can change a sentence from being sinister to perfectly reasonable!

While the dog was eating the cat, the duck and the mouse were sleeping.

While the dog was eating, the cat, the duck and the mouse were sleeping.

After all the effort of writing something, it would be a shame for the meaning to be lost or misunderstood over something so small.

Proofreaders and copy editors can help you to deliver your message, as you intended, to your readers.

 

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