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At Writing by Design, we believe that powerful marketing begins with potent language. Our blog is your source for tips and insights into the world of market-minded communication.

Nine Embarrassing (and Rather Amusing) Examples of Why Proofreading is Important

Image of words on a page and a red pen marking changes

Flashback to middle school: your seventh-grade English teacher is once again reminding you and your peers to proofread before turning in your work. Letting out a sigh, your 12-year-old self didn’t quite grasp just how important that advice would be today. While some of us have embedded the don’t-forget-to-proofread phrase into our minds, others have made a bad habit of publishing their first draft without taking a second glance.

Proofing, second-eyes, spotcheck—don’t skip it!

If you don’t think proofreading is important, think again. Globo Lingo conducted a real-world social experiment and found that 59% of its participants were less likely to use a product or service if they found grammatical or spelling mistakes in their promotional materials or website (that’s more than half!).

This statistic is astounding and backs up our strong belief in double-checking your work! Every great writer knows to do their proofreading homework and at Writing by Design, we do just that. After writers do their initial proofreading checks, the copy is handed over to a fresh set of eyes for review against our clients’ style guides along with a detailed, three-step proofing process (there’s even a checklist!). In the final step, someone gives the copy a quick once-over to ensure it aligns with the creative brief or the goals our client is trying to achieve. This proofreading process makes us better writers and ultimately allows us to deliver exceptional, high-quality marketing materials to our clients every time.

Check out our favorite proofreading resources so you, too, can become a proofing pro:

  • AP Stylebook (our go-to guide)
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary (pair it with thesaurus.com to up your writing game even more)
  • The Grammar Girl (that or which, who or whom, and answers to tons of other writing questions)
  • Quora.com (a great resource for getting background information on a variety of topics)
  • Built-in spellcheckers (they’re there for a reason)

Now that we’ve shared a few of our favorite proofreading tips, let’s take a look at some examples of people and companies who could have used a second set of eyes.

When spelling mistakes and misused words take on a new meaning (and help you go viral for all the wrong reasons).

 

  1. If we had a dime for every social media post gone awry…
Image of a Facebook post with the wrong their/they're/there

It’s OK to brag about your child on social media. It’s also OK for me to make fun of you for being one of the 30-year-olds you mention in your post. #theirwrong

  1. I’m not sure how he did it, but I applaud this man.
Photo of a newspaper article with a bad headline

It’s not always about typos. Sometimes you just need to think it through and use a little common sense.

  1. The idea is 100% original, but I’m still not eating at this cafeteria.
Photo of a cafeteria menu with chicken diapers

I’m not a picky eater. I’ve also eaten my fair share of not-so-tasty cafeteria food including hotdogs wrapped in a slice of white bread and yesterday’s leftovers turned into mystery slop. However, I will not eat honey mustard chicken diapers (even if I get to choose my own dipping sauce!).

  1. I’m highly impressed you can pick a bagel up with your tongue, but please don’t.
Image asking people to use their tongues to pick up bagels

If you can pick up bagels with your tongue, America’s Got Talent is waiting for you. I just ask that you use the tongs or tissue paper because a saliva-covered bagel is not my favorite flavor.

  1. Your sign suggests otherwise…
Neenah Referendum sign spelled incorrectly

This one made the list because it’s from our neck of the woods. The $130M Neenah referendum (not “referendom”) was recently rejected. The “No” votes won, despite the apparent lack of proofreading.

Using commas and punctuation incorrectly can turn you into a cold-blooded and heartless person (Or unintelligent, your pick!).

 

  1. I’m an animal lover and I find this unacceptable.
Rachel Ray on the cover of a magazine with typos

I know Rachael Ray doesn’t cook her family and her dog, but this is a great example of how commas can change an inspirational person into a cannibal.

  1. I have never seen a disabled, elderly, pregnant child before, but I’m sure they exist (*eye roll*).
Image of a sign missing commas

No matter how tight on space you are, don’t underestimate the power of a well-placed comma (or two).

  1. You’re welcome, but don’t tell me what to do.
Goodwill sign with extra periods

Goodwill® is known for helping people find jobs, but I didn’t know they were this demanding.

  1. Boy syrup? I wonder if it tastes like maple syrup.
Photo of a jar of Oh! Boy Syrup

Please don’t tell me how you made this syrup.

I hope you laughed loudly (and annoyed your coworkers) as much as I did when looking through these funny grammar and spelling mistakes. I think we have all learned a valuable lesson: even if you don’t think you made a mistake, you still need to proofread (and more than once!).

What’s the worst grammatical error you’ve ever seen? Let us know by sharing in the comments below!

Headshot of Ciara PowellCiara is a senior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh majoring in Interactive Web Management. Her major covers a wide array of subjects, including journalism, marketing, information systems and computer science. Through her class and internship experiences, she has developed her graphic design skills by creating content in Adobe Photoshop for online and print use. She is also familiar with researching and implementing social media best practices, has an understanding of HTML and CSS, and enjoys writing blog posts on various topics. As an animal lover, Ciara loves volunteering as the marketing coordinator for the Winnebago Pet Expo, a nonprofit dedicated to building dog parks in Winnebago County. 

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