Follow us...

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.” 
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. 
  • 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 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 and we’ll try to address it in a future column or Webinar.