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Real Words that Work  

By Patricia Davies, President, Patricia Davies Communications  
 
Proof is in the (careful) reading 
 
What impression do you have of the person who sent this email?
  • “Let’s toch base in September. I definatelyt want to pursue the project.” 
 
Or the international company that wrote this in a job posting? 
  • “Compensation will commiserate with experience.”
 
Or the newspaper that printed this?
  • “Others collaborated that account.” 
Guideline
 
Always proofread. In fact, proofread twice. I’ve written about this before and I’ll write about it again because this small step can have a huge impact on how readers perceive you or your organization. Don’t count on spell-check to save you. It didn’t catch anything wrong in examples two and three since all the words are real—they just don’t make sense. 
 
Fix:  
  • Let’s touch base in September. I definitely want to pursue the project.  
  • Compensation will be commensurate with experience.  
  • Others corroborated that account. 
Punctuation Tip
 
In response to reader requests, this column will occasionally include hints on punctuation.
  • Use an apostrophe when contracting two words. The client is not (isn’t) attending the meeting. 
  • Also use an apostrophe to indicate possession. The child grabbed her mother’s hand.  
  • Pronouns don’t use apostrophes in their possessive form: its, ours, yours, theirs. Many people confuse it’s (it is) with its. It’s time to return to the office. The drawer has its own key. 

Patricia Davies www.patriciadavies.com is an award-winning writer and editor, an Endorsed Education Provider (EEP™) with IIBA®, and a regular panelist on the IIBA “Being a BA: Effective Communication” Webinar (first Tuesday of every month). Do you have a writing question? Please email to IIBAnewsletter@IIBA.org and we’ll try to address it in a future column or Webinar.