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Practical Application: Proofreading Messages for Spelling, Grammar, Accuracy & Clarity

Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

How skilled are you with writing? Do you want to test your abilities? Here you will be given a chance to practice your proofreading skills by correcting a given text.

Proofreading: Not Just for School!

Think of your English teachers from grade school. You likely had a new one every year, but there is probably one thing they all had in common…telling you to proofread your writing!

Proofreading, or examining one's writing for proper grammar and word usage, is a key element in every English class. However, most students don't realize that it's a skill you should use for the rest of your life.

Think about it. What if a salesman emailed you and used the wrong verb tense in every sentence? Would you buy his product? Probably not. We associate the correct use of our language with the person, and like it or not, make judgements based off of that. So how are you being judged based on your business writings?

Now you will be given a chance to proofread a profession email and correct all the errors. Think you can find them all? If you need a refresher first, check the lesson: Proofreading Your Message.

Proofreading Practice

Here is a sample business email with spelling, grammar, accuracy and clarity errors. Read it and then try to find and correct the following errors.

Subject: Quote for Tree Removal

Dear Mr. Smith;

I have appraised the proposed job of removeing the dead oak tree on your property at 665 Lorain Avenue in Cleveland, OH: After inspecting the site in person and assessing the tree, a quote has been developed for your reveiw.

Use of crane to remove all dead branches - $1,000 Chipper to take care of all debris - $500 Removal of trunk - $200 Grind the stump - $200 Labor and cleanup - $200 Total = $2,100

This quote includes more than everything listed above, guaranteeing of leaving the yard nice and clean, with the same condition as before the job. All parts of the tree will be removed from your property the stump will be ground up and the hole filled with mulch.

If this is exceptable to you, please give me a call at 216-554-2343 so we can schedule a date for this job. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely.
Lamar Johnson
Owner Affordible Tree Inc.

Identifying Errors

It's likely you recognized several errors in grammar as you first read through that email. Let's see if you find and fix all the errors it contains.

Spelling

There are 4 spelling errors in that email. See if you can find them and produce the correct spelling.

Punctuation

There are 5 punctuation errors in that email. Three involve misuse of punctuation, and two are missing commas. Try to find and fix each one.

Dangling Modifier

There is one dangling modifier. Remember, a modifier is a word or phrase that describes something else in the sentence, usually a noun or pronoun. A dangling modifier occurs when that noun or pronoun is missing from the sentence. Thus, it is unclear who or what is being described. Can you find the dangling modifier in this email? How can you fix it?

Long Sentence

There is one sentence in this email that is too long. It causes some confusion in the message of the email. Find that sentence and determine how to shorten it.

Key Points

It is often useful to use bullet points or numbered lists to help summarize or structure key information. There is one area where a bulleted list would be helpful in this email. Find that section.

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