The Case for Proofreading

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

In all of my grammar, spelling, and word-usage rants I point out that the wrong word in a sentence has two effects:

  • It confuses the reader, so they have to stop and think about what the writer meant - then the flow of the message is lost.
  • It makes the writer look either uneducated or sloppy.

Since none of us wants to look uneducated or sloppy, it pays to take the time to proofread. Or - to take the time to get someone else to proofread.

For someone like me who writes for a living, missed errors are especially embarrassing. After all, everything I write is an example of my work.

No one wants to use a writer who doesn't know "your" from "you're."

That's why I'm sure there's one copywriter out there tonight whose face is burning red. She sent a promotion for her copywriting boot camp, and along with the promotion sent her weekly article.

To introduce the article she wrote: "This week we are taking a look at personal journey's and why it's important that it is shared with others."


Surely she knows that the plural of journey is not journey's.

Surely she knows that you don't refer to a plural as "it."

And if those errors weren't bad enough, the sentence is simply awkward.

My guess is that she was in a hurry - or perhaps was interrupted mid-sentence - and didn't stop to re-read what she wrote. If she had, surely she would have re-written that sentence, because it is most definitely not an advertisement for her expertise.

We all make mistakes - and that's why proofreading is vital to everyone who wants and needs to maintain a professional image.



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John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Marte, I try to remember that everything I write leaves an impression. I try to be careful so at least I don't prove I am ignorant.

Thanks for a great message.

Jun 08, 2014 12:21 AM #22
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Marte!  I included this post in today's Last Week's Favorites,

Jun 08, 2014 12:29 AM #23
Virginia Dean
Keller Williams Tulare County - Visalia, CA
Real Estate Done Your Way

I tend to see mispellings like they are bold and in red.  I don't have that skill with everything. 

One of my previous jobs as an administrative assistant, had me working for what I considered the boss from hell.  I took minutes at our meetings, taped them, took notes and even utilized a digital pen which recorded the session.

I got them back from her totally marked up in red, and I sure resented it.  Fast forward and I realize how much I learned from her....

Thanks Marte, you rock. 

Jun 08, 2014 12:52 AM #24
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kathy and Patrica - Thank you both. I feel doubly honored this morning!

Gary - And that's why people who have someone to proofread for them are so fortunate.

Dorie - Thanks. I just revised something I wrote a few years ago and couldn't believe the errors I found. It made me want to go hide.

John - Yes, everything leaves an impression. Proofreading helps us make it a good one.

Virginia - You just never know who you're going to thank later for annoying you today. That's a good lesson for all of us.


Jun 08, 2014 01:19 AM #25
Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Marte,

Great post and good information to convey to all of us. Spellcheck is here for the asking but it does not always have the words or it wants to correct something we know does not need correcting? I sometimes 'Google' a word to make sure I am spelling it correctly. I am so glad that our MLS has Spellcheck but I still see descriptions that make me want to cringe. I try to reread my posts two to three times and rewrite them before hitting the SUBMIT button. We all get in a hurry but that is no excuse. 

Jun 08, 2014 01:30 AM #26
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Marte:  Definitely true.  We all make mistakes and overlook errors.  It happens most often to me when I've tried multiple times to re-write and proof my copy.  It's like I've looked at the words TOO often to catch the errors.  At least immediately.  Still, proofreading is a must.  Better to catch 99.9% of the boo-boos, then none ...


Jun 08, 2014 01:53 AM #27
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Great post - It amazes me the number of our family members who have graduated from college and yet frequently misspell words and use improper sentence structure in their communication. It's disappointing - not sure if it comes from laziness, or if they really just don't know. The latter is a scary thought.

Jun 08, 2014 02:36 AM #28
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kristin - Spell check DOES make mistakes, and grammar check is worse. It's forever telling me that I've written a sentence fragment when I see the subject and verb right there.

Gene - I know just what you mean. When I decide to re-word a sentence or a paragraph I can sometimes make a real jumble of it by forgetting to remove some word. It pays to let it sit for a bit, then come back and re-read with fresh eyes.

Debb - The problem I see in education is that it seems that only the English teachers pay attention to spelling, grammar, word choice, sentence structure, etc. I think that when kids - even college kids - write essays and reports, they should be graded on/corrected for those things as well as the subject matter content. But - perhaps some of those teachers wouldn't be capable of correcting such errors?

Jun 08, 2014 02:42 AM #29
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Everyone does make mistakes, however, if your occupation is copywriting the mistakes you make should not be what you have written.

Jun 08, 2014 03:48 AM #30
Liz Wallace
Century 21 Sherlock Homes - Rockville Centre, NY
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N

I came over from Kathy's post and in this age of spell check and grammar check it is totally unacceptable to make so many mistakes.  If you are going to take the time to write it, write it right.

Jun 08, 2014 04:12 AM #31
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Evelyn - I'm sure there's not a copywriter in the world who hasn't had a typo or missed something when they were revising, but when you're promoting a bootcamp to teach other writers how to improve their skills, you'd better proofread!

Liz - Just for the fun of it, I tried that sentence in Word. It caught "journey's" but didn't catch the grammatical error.

Jun 08, 2014 04:56 AM #32
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Real estate writing must drive you nuts. Most MLS descriptions are written in sentence fragments. However, a copywriter making that mistake shows they don't know their stuff. I try but since I don't have a copywriter to look over everything I post on my blogs, I'm sure there are mistakes. I see mistakes on others' blogs all the time. 

Jun 08, 2014 06:13 AM #33
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Pamela - No, it doesn't drive me nuts - I love it. And as for sentence fragments - sometimes copywriters use them on purpose. Good copy is conversational, and people talking naturally use sentence fragments. It just depends upon what you're writing, and who you expect to read it.

Jun 08, 2014 11:21 AM #34
Stefan Winter
Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger - Las Vegas, NV
Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech

English being my second language, when proof reading I always have to really think about differences such your and you're. Was thrown into 5th grade not knowing any English at all and like to to think I did fairly well, still learning everyday and for important articles I always pay someone to proofread.

Jun 09, 2014 01:08 AM #35
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Stefan - That's a good idea. If book authors and top copywriters hire proofreaders, why should't you?

Meanwhile, you have my great admiration. I KNOW I could never learn a second language and hope to become proficient enough to write even a short email.

Jun 09, 2014 02:03 AM #36
Phil Stevenson, CRMP
PS Mortgage Lending 305-791-4874 or 888-845-6630 - Miami, FL
"Mortgage Nerd" in Miami, Florida and Texas

Marte, when all else fails, get someone else to proofread your work, especially for the first reason you mentioned. If the reader can't follow what you wrote, what's the point?

Jun 09, 2014 04:58 AM #37
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Phil - Exactly. I wish I had a handy proofreader, but my husband only says "It's fine."

Jun 09, 2014 05:36 AM #38
Cathy Wolters
Wolters Realty & Property Management Company - Cocoa, FL
Your Brevard County Property Management Expert

Marte, thanks for the reminder about how important proof reading is.  

Jun 09, 2014 08:03 AM #39
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I think typing mistakes make writers look both uneducated and sloppy. I am appalled by some of the mistakes I see local blog writers make. I wonder if they actually get any business from those posts.

Jun 09, 2014 11:01 AM #40
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Cathy - You're very welcome.

Tammie - We all get a case of "fat fingers" now and then, and I have trouble with my left hand being faster than the right. Thus a lot of teh instead of the.

But that isn't an excuse for not TRYING to catch and correct those errors.

Jun 09, 2014 11:17 AM #41
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