How to Avoid These Simple Errors

by Martin Malden

In these days of spelling and grammar checkers, both online and off-line, I’m continually amazed by how many blogs and websites I read that contain obvious spelling errors. I’m not talking about the differences between American English and UK English, or Australian English – I’m talking out and out spelling errors.

Spelling errors and, to a lesser extent, grammatical errors distract me from the message of the article. And if that message is a sales message they often cost the writer a potential sale.

So here’s a simple method I use to make sure that my articles a) don’t contain spelling errors and b) are formatted the way I want.

  1. I write my article in Word. Word contains both spelling checkers and grammar checkers and Word 2007 in particular is pretty good at this.
  2. Once my article is clean I copy it into Windows Notepad (any text editor will do). This removes all the formatting that Word automatically puts in, so that it doesn’t clash with the formatting process in your HTML editor.
  3. I copy the unformatted text from Notepad and paste it into my HTML editor.
  4. I format the article in my HTML editor.
  5. I then leave the article for a few hours before reading it again.
  6. When I read the article again I’m looking out for words that are spelled correctly but used in the wrong context. For example:
    • They’re vs. Their vs. There
    • It’s vs. Its
    • Effect vs. Affect
    • Your vs. You’re

Word 2007 picks up quite a few of these now, much better than the earlier versions!

One thing you’ll need to check for, though, is whether Word is using your preferred spell checker language. My version of Word has UK English set as the default language but for some reason will occasionally use US English when I create a new article. Heaven knows why – maybe it’s part of Bill’s plan for taking over the world!

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