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8 Simple Ways to Avoid Common Spelling and Grammatical Errors

8 Simple Ways to Avoid Common Spelling and Grammatical Errors

Poor writing–including lots of grammar and spelling mistakes–can leave a bad impression. Send in a resume or cover letter using the wrong form of “there” and a hiring manager may dump it right in the recycling bin. Use sentence fragments in a business proposal and the recipient may not take you seriously. How you write says a lot about you. You don’t need to be an English or journalism major to produce well-written, error-free letters and business communication. Here are 8 simple ways to avoid common spelling and grammatical errors:

Don’t rely on spell check

That may sound counter-intuitive and yes spell check is a great help, but it doesn’t catch everything, and it isn’t always right. Use spell check as just one tool in your proofreading process and remember it’s infallible. On a related note, don’t trust a computer program’s grammar check either; it might point out possible problems, but it doesn’t catch anything and can tell you something is wrong when it isn’t.

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Proofread, but do it later

You see a job you’re excited to apply for and put together what you think is a great cover letter and read it through. But before hitting send on an important document, wait at least an hour–or maybe even the next day–and then proofread it again. Putting some time between when you finish writing and when you go back and proofread will help you catch more errors. When you write something and then immediately proofread it, you’re likely to rush through it, since you “know” what’s coming next. Giving yourself a little extra time will help catch those mistakes.

Proofread from the bottom up

This is a great tool for catching errors. Read your document sentence by sentence, starting at the end. This allows you to focus on each sentence and will help you catch missing words, misused words, or other grammar errors. Sure, it feels a bit weird, but it really works.

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Find a trusted editor

Before hitting Send, have a friend or family member read over your letter, proposal, or resume to see if there are any mistakes they notice. Having a fresh set of eyes on a document can be a big help.

Find a reliable resource

Remember the dictionary? It’s still a great resource when you’re confused about a spelling or are looking for just the right word to use. Whether you’re using an online dictionary or a paper copy, dictionaries are important tools and can help avoid a lot of senseless errors. If you don’t know which “witch” to use, look up both words in the dictionary to make sure you have the right one. This isn’t a mistake that spell check will catch. Beyond the dictionary, there are other resource books available including the Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Style Book. Now, you may not be writing a news story, but the AP Style Book contains great information about abbreviations and proper word choice. If you write frequently for your job, it’s definitely a good book to have around.

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Make a list of common mistakes

We all have problem words we can’t remember how to spell or grammar lessons we never quite understood. If you know, for example, that you have trouble remember which “its” to use, put together a quick list and post it where you can see it. Make sure to look at it when writing. It can really make a difference.

Use easy shortcuts

Remember how you learned the names of the Great Lakes in school by using the word “HOMES?” You can use that same methodology in helping you remember how to spell certain words. For example, there’s “a rat” in “separate” and the “principal is your ‘pal’” to help you remember if you should be using “principal” or “principle.” It may sound silly, but easy shortcuts should be a part of every writer’s tool box.

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Don’t rush

Yes, you want to get out that letter or proposal, but rushing through a writing project likely means more errors. Take your time and always leave plenty of time for editing. Books break down the writing process like this: 20 percent of the time thinking about what to write, 30 percent actually writing and 50 percent refining or editing. Don’t just sit down, write off that important email to your boss, and hit send. Think first about what you want to say, then write it, and then read it through again using some of the tools described above. They’ll help catch silly mistakes and help you produce a quality document.

Anyone can put together an error-free email, letter, or business proposal–you just need to go slowly and use the above tips.

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Last Updated on September 23, 2020

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Are you waking up each day looking for that perfect thing, activity, or job that will make your life work? Or, maybe you are looking for that perfect relationship. Once you “get” this new thing that will allow you to do what you love, you are sure that you will be happy forever.

In reality, life doesn’t work like that, and we would probably get bored if it did. There is likely no one thing, experience, or activity that will keep you feeling passionate and engaged all the time. What’s important is staying connected to what you love and continuing to grow in the process.

Here, we’ll talk about how to get started doing what you love and achieving more in life through the motivation it brings. Doing this doesn’t have to take a long time; it just takes determination and energy.

Most People Already Know Their Passion

So many people walk around in life “looking for” their passion. They look for it as if true passion is some mysterious thing that is difficult to find and runs away once you find it. However, the problem is rarely lack of passion.

Most of us already know what we love to do. We know what excites us, even if we haven’t done it for years. Instead, we focus on what we think we “must” do.

For example, maybe you love building model cars or painting pet portraits. Yet, each day you work a completely unrelated job and make no time for the activity you already know you love. The truth is you probably don’t need to find your passion; you just need to start doing what you already know you’re passionate about[1].

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No Activity Is Exciting All the Time

Even people who are living their dream lifestyle or working their dream job don’t love it all the time. Every job or lifestyle has parts of it that we won’t like.

Let’s say your dream is to become an actress, and you succeed. You may not enjoy the process of auditioning and facing rejection. You may experience moments of boredom when you practice your lines over and over again. But the overall experience is totally worth it.

Most of life is like that. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by demanding that life be perfect all the time. If things were perfect and easy, you would ultimately stop learning and growing, and life would begin to lack even more meaning in that case.

Be grateful for both the good and bad moments as they are both entirely necessary if you genuinely want to do what you love and love what you do.

Doing What You Love May Not Be Easy

Living a life you love is unlikely to be easy. If it was, you would not grow very much as a person. And, if you think about a great book or movie, the growth of the main character is what matters most.

What if the challenges you meet along your path to living a life you love were designed to make you grow as a person? You may actually start looking forward to challenges instead of dreading them. An easy life hardly ever makes a compelling story.

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If you struggle to overcome challenges, try writing them down each time you encounter one. Then, write down three ways you could tackle it. Try one, and if it doesn’t work, try another. This way, you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

How to Do What You Love

There are many small steps you can take to ensure you are making time to do the things you love. Start with these, and you’ll likely find that you’re already on the right track.

1. Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Many people claim they want to do something, yet they don’t do it. The truth is they might not really want to do it in the first place[2].

We all end up following through on what matters most to us. We make decisions moment by moment about what we need to focus on. What we choose to do is what we deem most important in our lives.

If there is something you claim you want to do but you don’t do it, try asking yourself how much you really want it or where it’s currently placed on priority list. Are there other things you want more?

Be honest with yourself: what you currently do each day is a reflection of your priorities. Recognize that you can change your priorities at any time.

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Make a list of your priorities. Really take the time to think this through. Then, ask yourself if what you are doing each day reflects them. For example, if you believe your top priority is spending more time with your family, but you consistently take on extra hours at work, you’re not really prioritizing things in the way you think you are.

If this is happening, it’s time to make a change.

2. Do One Small Thing Each Day

As stated above, doing what you love doesn’t have to mean finding that perfect job that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you want to do what you love, start with one small thing each day.

Maybe you love reading a good book. Take ten minutes before bed to read.

Maybe you love swimming. Get a membership at the local YMCA, and go there for thirty minutes after work each day.

Dedicating even a short amount of time to something that brings you joy each day will improve your life overall. You may find that, over time, a career path related to what you love to do pops up. After doing the thing you love each day, you’ll be more than prepared to take it on when the opportunity arises.

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If you need help making time for your passions, check out this article to get started.

3. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

If you are an exceptionally busy person (aren’t we all?), you may have to make sacrifices in order to make space for the things you are passionate about. Maybe you take on less extra hours at the office or take thirty minutes away from another hobby in order to develop another that you enjoy.

Looking at your priority list will help you decide what can get put on the back burner and what can’t. Remember, do this thinking about what will help you feel good about how you’re spending your time. 

For example, if you love writing but rarely make time for it, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Or instead of browsing your phone for 30 minutes before bed, you can write instead. There is always a way to find time for what you love.

Final Thoughts

If you love what you do, each day becomes a joyful adventure. If you don’t love what you are doing, life feels like a chore. The best way to achieve success is to design a life you love and live it every day.

Remember, doing something you love doesn’t have to include big gestures or time-consuming projects. Start small and grow from there.

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Featured photo credit: William Recinos via unsplash.com

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