How Do You Spell…Oh, #$@&%*!!

October 23, 2018 - 4 minutes read

Have you ever sent an email that causes you to grimace AFTER you’ve hit the send button? Have you scrambled to figure out how to “recall” an email in Outlook, or worse…not had a recall option available?

It happens to the best of us.

Your brain, which seems to function properly under most circumstances, fails you in the process of writing a critical communication. How is this even possible?

The brain’s version of auto-correct does not always work in our favor. It gives us what we want (or expect) to see by filling in missing characters and words, rearranging letters and, in some cases, overlooking the fact that we’ve used the “wrong” word, instead of calling our attention to the error. Self-preservation at its finest, but a little short-sighted considering the embarrassment of sending out a poorly composed communication is far worse.

My (haha) favorite form of cryptic and failed communication strategies is, by far, texting. Necessary as it may be these days, texting can be more amusing and frustrating than effective. If translating acronyms is not enough, enter the SWYPE keyboard and predictive texting.

Then there’s punctuation, my personal nemesis, to consider. Where some people opt for a flurry of words that require Olympic breathing techniques to read out loud, I engage in compulsive punctuation abuse and overuse. I love commas and insert them every time I take a mental breath…which is apparently often.

proofreading example 2Even if your intention truly is to amuse or confuse your reader, it is always a good idea to proofread your work. As noted earlier, this is not always easy to do for yourself…the brain being so helpful, and all.

What if no one is around to help?

I found the answer several years ago with a product called Grammarly. Grammarly has become my best friend and most trusted colleague. This amazing program not only catches what my office suite spell-checker misses but it also unabashedly tells me when I make other types of writing errors.

I have Grammarly plugged into my browser, active in Microsoft Word and Outlook, and loaded to my phone where it monitors all of my over-ambitious punctuation efforts. All I have to do is be open to a little constructive criticism.

Best of all, there is a free version so you can try it before you buy it. Although, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it is definitely worth a few bucks to upgrade the confidence level of your writing.

Check it out for yourself! All you have to lose is that moment of dread AFTER you hit the send button.

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