My mother often shares her greatest regret as a mom -- she named me Julie Ann with no E, and she laments about that decision often. I know that you might not think that the missing E is super important, but I’m pretty sure that my mom thinks that many of the problems I have experienced in life could have been avoided if I was Julie Anne. As Julie Anne, perhaps I would have made cheerleader, become a talented ballerina, and of course, won the lottery! But we all know that having an E at the end of my middle name will not help me achieve any goals, but there is a lesson in this story. In an earlier blog I talked about the importance of looking at the small details and making sure that you correctly communicate you’re message with regards to spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and I shared concrete proofreading strategies to help you make sure that your message is free of any mistakes. I promised future blogs with more specifics, and voila! Here is one of those blogs! Even though we all know that there is no real difference between Ann and Anne, their are real differences in how we use many words, but at times we fail to see that we have made a mistake. I’m talking about words like your and you’re; they’re, there, and their; and its and it’s. Because these are homophones (words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings), our brains “hear” the right word even when its not the right word. But using the wrong word can dilute your communication message, lesson your credibility, and affect the confidence others may have in you. I’m sure that most people understand the usage rules associated with these words, so when there is an error, it reflects negatively on your professionalism and attention to detail, valuable qualities in the workplace. If you do have any questions about when to use which word, go familiarize yourself with the usage rules. A simple hint to remember is that any of the words that have an apostrophe reflect a contraction: you’re = you are; they’re = they are; it’s = it is. Undo the contraction and use the two words to check the usage. But again -- the best advice is this: Give yourself the time needed to carefully proofread. Use the search option and look at each your or its or their to check the usage. Highlight the words to check for mistakes. Get a co-worker to double check your choices. Use Grammarly to check your usage. Find a resource that works for you and use it -- every single time!
In the digital world today, your words are usually the first representation of you and your abilities in the workplace, and at times, may be the ONLY contact you have in a communication experience. I know that the extra “time” is hard to find, but etc Strategies believes that proofreading is an easy way to ensure that your professionalism is showing loud and proud!! And using the right you’re or their or its will help you achieve your goals -- you may even win the lottery!
For those of you who think like my mom, don’t worry that my Ann with no E may keep us from succeeding with our business. Thank goodness Karen is Karen Anne -- we are totally covered!
Now for a little fun -- did you catch my usage errors? Go back and reread the blog to look for the 3 mistakes. But you would not believe just how difficult it was to post the blog with these mistakes ...