Proofreading tips

Why Van Halen refused brown M&Ms and you should too

As the music world mourns the death of rock god Eddie Van Halen this week, stories of his eponymous band’s famous ‘no brown M&Ms’ standard contractual clause have resurfaced. That’s right, you read correctly. Brown ones were strictly verboten. But was this stipulation simply a furphy? And what on earth has it got to do with proofreading? The clause was real enough. But it wasn’t just one of those typically outrageous demands so often associated with headline acts. (Iggy Pop…

Why Van Halen refused brown M&Ms and you should too was last modified on October 20th, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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How to not overcomplicate your sentences

Doing business is difficult enough without having to reach for the urban dictionary and thesaurus. In an effort to outdo competitors, it’s easy to become bogged down in over the top descriptions, adjectives and buzzwords. Stating your company will ‘provide innovative human resource solutions’  makes it harder for potential customers to connect with your message when ‘find the right person for the job’ says it all simply and clearly.  Over-complicated sentences can confuse, mislead or simply bore the reader. The…

How to not overcomplicate your sentences was last modified on September 22nd, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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Re: Use this version instead

The oft-used email subject line ‘Sorry, use this version instead’ can have a myriad of stories behind it, but most often it’s to email an updated version of a document that was emailed only a short time ago. The reason? Usually, because many people are involved in contributing to the document’s content, which results in a myriad of changes. Even with version control, it’s extremely easy for a document’s quality to diminish during the writing and editing process. Annual reports,…

Re: Use this version instead was last modified on September 17th, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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How to Proofread like a Professional

Some things in life are just plain wrong. Referring to a week at home as a ‘staycation’, and believing macramé will ever look good on your living room wall are both sure signs of going over to the dark side, for example. In a business scenario, publishing important documents without first conducting a thorough proofread is about as dark as it gets. Shame on anyone for thinking a ‘quick read over’ will do. It won’t. Use these seven top tips…

How to Proofread like a Professional was last modified on August 25th, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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English grammar

How to proofread tricky words

They say English is the world’s most difficult language to learn. And proofreading certainly has its challenges. The English language may be blessed with many words, but quite a few set out to trip us up. Here are some of the most common words that even the best English writers confuse and which are important to look out for when proofreading. Unique Many businesses like to think of themselves as the most unique in their industry. But ‘unique’ means truly…

How to proofread tricky words was last modified on July 2nd, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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Dictionary

10 common English language mistakes

(Plus one you may think is an error, but isn’t). One of the wonderful features of the English language is its flexibility. We have a staggering range of words to choose from, whatever we are trying to say. And the ease with which we adopt new words and spread these around the world is a true example of globalisation. But writing in the English language is fraught with opportunities for error and confusion. Avoiding mistakes is not just a pastime…

10 common English language mistakes was last modified on June 30th, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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stakeholders

Proofreading Stakeholder Documents

You may be surprised to learn that in long, complex business documents, such as annual reports, financial statements, bids and proposals, PDSs and reports, typos are actually rare. In a typical 150 page annual report, for example, we usually find only a handful of spelling mistakes, even in the 70 pages or so of very dense, copy-heavy financial statements. What’s more common, however, is inconsistency in how phrases, titles and financial terms are presented. This is usually due to different…

Proofreading Stakeholder Documents was last modified on June 18th, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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proofreading

Red Faces at Yellow Pages – and how not to let the same happen to you

Typos can have a highly detrimental effect on a business. And no one knows that more than Banner Travel Agency owner, Gloria Quinan. Back in 1988, when the world relied on telephone books, Gloria’s listing in the Yellow Pages advertised her business as offering ‘International and Erotic Travel’. An appalled Gloria said, ‘We offer exotic travel, like tours up the Amazon, but nothing erotic.’ To make matters worse, the offending word was emblazoned in red across her prominent advertisement. Gloria’s…

Red Faces at Yellow Pages – and how not to let the same happen to you was last modified on April 16th, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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Time to Write, Type Writer

Don’t fall into these four common grammar traps!

The extra comma  Ah, the debate about the use of the extra comma. One only has to look at the well-known question, ‘What is this thing called love?’ to realise the extraordinary power of a little black squiggle to change that sentence’s meaning entirely when inserted after ‘called’. Try it, and you’ll see what we mean. Commas, of course, are used to separate items in a list. For example: ‘I bought wine, gin, tequila, and more wine.’ Note that extra…

Don’t fall into these four common grammar traps! was last modified on April 9th, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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CV and Keyboard

Failure to proofread leaves job applicant furious

A little while ago the SMH carried an article by Tom Cowie, reporting events after a lawyer hired a resumé writing company to write her job application for a government agency. But when both parties failed to spy numerous mistakes and the lawyer wasn’t granted an interview, a lengthy legal stooshie ensued. The lawyer said she had ‘sent some documents’ through to the resumé writing company to help with her application, including a previous CV. Preparing for an overseas holiday,…

Failure to proofread leaves job applicant furious was last modified on February 12th, 2020 by Proof Communications Author
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