A few years ago I was given a book to read by an author who wanted me to help him promote it.  After reading a couple of pages I decided it wouldn’t be in my best interest to provide my PR and Marketing services.  As much as I want to see other black authors succeed in their genre, I just couldn’t bring myself to “steal” his money.  “Stealing” is exactly what I would have been doing because I wouldn’t give him or the book the kind of attention/exposure I’m sure he wanted.  Why not?  The book was so poorly written that I thought it had been written by a child and I didn’t want my name/reputation attached to it.  When I questioned if he had someone edit and proofread it, he said he did and I thought that might have also been a child.


As a former journalist-turned-college writing consultant, I am a stickler about good grammar and sentence structure.  I encourage my students to read their essay drafts out loud to hear if what they’ve written makes sense to them.  Those who have a pretty decent command of the English language will catch their errors, while those who “write like they speak”  will hear nothing wrong.

Proofreading is so important to any type of writing you are doing, especially in business.  Shooting off an email without re-reading what you wrote can be the kiss of death.  When I worked at United Healthcare, I actually saved an email sent from a Supervisor to her team.  This is what she wrote.  I kid you not!

Hello Team 

I am resend this information again so we all can be on the same board.

It has come to my knowledge our team has an high usage of personnel. Friendly reminder your are not to go into personnel without informing me by email what is going on with you. Personnel is for emergencies only and this doesn’t happened every day. Personnel isn’t use to warm up food, talk to your fellow co-worker and etc.  Going forward any personnel time that equal over 7 mins will be an .5 occurrence and will be deduct from your lunch time. Please remember that is consider call avoidance.

Feel free to contact me for any question

Best Regards

ADVOCATE4ME Supervisor

The “personnel” referred to in the email should be “personal” time.

When I saw that email, my first thought was, “Wow!  How did she become a supervisor???”  Perhaps she was frustrated when she wrote the email but if she had only taken the time to proofread it, her email wouldn’t have ended up in my blog post.

When you’re writing a resume or a research paper, here’s what I recommend:

Read what you’ve written out loud

Read for clarity first and then re-read for typos

Get someone else to read it


Proofreading provides the final polish to your words, ensuring clarity of message.  It can also help you avoid embarrassment, negative feedback, or be viewed as someone who is uneducated with poor communication skills.