Nothing is more infuriating than an ugly typo - especially when the typo is your mistake. Unfortunately, something as small as a typo can weigh heavy on your professional reputation. It wreaks of carelessness. Plain and simple.
Avoiding email mistakes isn't easy either. No matter how determined you are to catch them, our eyes see what they want to - so proofreading isn't foolproof.
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Here's a perfect example.
"If we read the phrase, 'Once upon a ...,' our mind tells us that the next word is "time," even if, by mistake, we type 'tine,'" notes Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.
Here are 3 ways to help you avoid email typos.
1. Read your messages aloud.
Reading while listening will force you to consider your writing for both flow and accuracy. "Reading aloud helps the writer in dozens of ways, including the detection of typos and other mistakes," says Clark. But do it deliberately to avoid merely seeing -- and hearing -- what you want to see.
2. Don't rely on spell-checker.
Your computer's spell check should only be a part of your proof-reading routine. "Have your favorite dictionary at arms-length," suggests Clark. When in doubt, always look the word up!
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3. Learn from your typos.
Mistakes happen. Remember that feeling and let it urge you to proofread more carefully next time.
"I once wrote a letter of recommendation (via e-mail) on behalf of a student seeking a scholarship. I was too lazy or too busy to proof read it. The next day I found two typos in it and began to worry that my carelessness would cost this student a prize I felt she deserved," recalls Clark.
Here's one more good rule of thumb:
"Treat anything you write in digital form -- including personal messages -- as public documents. I imagine that anything I write could turn up on the front page of the New York Post. That fear keeps me honest -- and mostly accurate," says Clark.
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