Proofread and Spellcheck

Proofreading

 

After some extensive research with reviewing several hundred online dating profiles I’ve been able to compile a list of the top five gaffes. Here they are, in order of offensiveness:

 -       51%  Not checking spelling and grammar

  -      23%  Writing about exes

  -      13%  Including other people in the photo

  -      10% Trying to cut other people out of the photo

 -        3%   Choosing the wrong gender preference

As you can see from the list, right up there in number one position is spelling and grammar, and it amazes me that when people are looking are seriously looking for love they don’t bother to make sure their profile information reads well. I’m not talking specifically about perfect punctuation and grammar but more to do with the actual spelling.

Everyone in the world has some kind of spell checker on their computers so even if you can’t spell for toffee ticking spell checker after you’ve written something should be just as natural. I find it a complete turn-off reading profiles that has loads of misspelled words. One is a mistake, two or three is sloppy, four or more says I’m a complete slob. Why? Because all you have to do is tick a button and it will check your work for you. If you can’t manage to do that, then your reader will wonder what other simple tasks you find difficult. Oh and let’s be clear: there is difference between someone who has learning difficulties and someone who is just plain lazy.

Txt profiles aint g8
Furthermore even though this is the age of text messaging, instant messaging, abbreviations galore and any of its derivatives should be avoided at all costs. Anyone over the age of 21 should know better and anyone 30 and over should really know better. You may think you are down with the kids but one would presume you are trying to attract another adult?

“i wnt sum1 2 lv me n care 4, if ur dat 1 pls lt me knw 2nite cuz i cnt w8 any mor”

So a profile that reads like it was written by a 14 year old will mostly likely attract someone with a 14 year old mentality! You only get one chance to make a first impression – so don’t make it a lousy one. The way you write will reflect who you are as a whole. You don’t need a graduate degree to be articulate. It just takes a little attention and effort.
However the good news is that all these errors are easy to avoid with a small investment of time and attention.

Proofread-Amend-Proofread-Amend
Don’t be in such a rush to publish your online dating profile that you don’t take the time to proofread. A sloppy profile will make you appear sloppy. Bad grammar and frequent spelling mistakes could make you seem unintelligent.  So once you’ve completed writing your dating profile, read it out loud to yourself to see if it makes sense. Better still, putting it aside for a few hours - or even a whole day — and then reading it again, will help you catch annoying errors and be sure you like it. Does that profile have any risk of sexual innuendos or double entendres? Then maybe you need to change it. Change it as many times as you need until you are satisfied with what you’ve written. You don’t want to attract the wrong interest. Give a good description of yourself but try not to be negative. Accentuate the positives. Be careful not to lie or brag though. If you spell words wrong, you’re going to lose points. Yea, it’s not fair. Not everyone spells well. But hey this is the computer age.

If there are typos or misspelling in your profile, your potential cyber suitor will think you didn’t care enough to spell check. Considering that spell check only takes about 30 seconds to use, you’ve lost a lot of effort points there.

There’s no excuse for not doing it, and remember, first impressions count.

Stay true to yourself
Many people when developing their profile will try to write more formally than they speak. Sometimes this causes them to use words they wouldn't normally choose, often resulting in misspellings, usage errors and, potentially, an air of conceit. If you stay true to your own vocabulary, you'll be more likely to spell well and use words the way they were intended. However if you don’t use correct grammar when you’re speaking, you may just come across as relaxed and unpretentious. The reverse is true when you’re writing, you just come across as uneducated and crude. Additionally, read your work out loud to make sure it sounds like you. This also will help you identify errors you missed when reading silently.

Also, DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAPS (online it’s considered screaming, and it’s really annoying to read after a while). Capitalize words that should be capitalized. Think of your profile as a cover letter for a job application - would you be lazy or half-hearted about that attempt?

Read, re-read and read yet again.
Check your profile thoroughly before you post it. Use a spell checker and get the grammar and punctuation right.

The easiest way to avoid spelling and grammar errors is to write your essay in a word processing document. Once you’ve completed your spell checked essay, just copy and paste it form the word processing document into your online profile. This process of writing in Word, then copying it into the online dating site is also useful in case of a timeout on the site. Some sites will time you out after a certain period of inactivity and then make you log back in again. If this happens, you may lose whatever you were working on if you hadn’t saved it. One thing to be aware of - Spel cheque duz knot cache hall miss steaks. Spell check only catches words that aren’t words. It doesn’t tell you if you’ve used the wrong one. Homonyms (words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have a different meaning), are the main problem.

Here are the most common mistakes to avoid:

1. Your v You’re
All it takes to avoid this error is to take a second and think about what you’re trying to say.

“Your” is a possessive pronoun, as in “your car” or “your name. ” “You’re” is a contraction for “you are,” as in “you’re screwing up your writing by using your when you really mean you are. ”

2. It’s v Its
This is another common mistake. It’s also easily avoided by thinking through what you’re trying to say.

“It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has. ” “Its” is a possessive pronoun, as in “this blog has lost its mojo. ” Here’s an easy rule of thumb—repeat your sentence out loud using “it is” instead. If that sounds goofy, “its” is likely the correct choice.

3. There v Their
This one seems to trip up everyone occasionally, often as a pure typo. Make sure to watch for it when you proofread.

“There” is used many ways, including as a reference to a place (“let’s go there”) or as a pronoun (“there is no hope”). “Their” is a plural possessive pronoun, as in “their bags” or “their opinions.” Always do the “that’s ours!” test - are you talking about more than one person and something that they possess? If so, “their” will get you there.

4. Affect v Effect
To this day I have to pause and mentally sort this one out in order to get it right. As with any of the other common mistakes people make when writing, it’s taking that moment to get it right that makes the difference.

“Affect” is a verb, as in “Your ability to communicate clearly will affect your income immensely. ” “Effect” is a noun, as in “The effect of a parent’s low income on a child’s future is well documented. ” By thinking in terms of “the effect,” you can usually sort out which is which, because you can’t stick a “the” in front of a verb. While some people do use “effect” as a verb (“a strategy to effect a settlement”), they are usually lawyers, and you should therefore ignore them if you want to write like a human.

Now, in all honesty in past profiles I’ve made errors with both grammar and usage. The point I’m trying to make though is that proper grammar and usage really are part of common courtesy. They’re like opening the door for a woman, being on time to a scheduled appointment, sending your mom a card on Mother’s Day or bringing your buddy a six pack to his backyard barbeque. When you take the time to spell check, use real words, capitalize, write complete sentences and treat online conversations more like real world conversations, your online dating experiences will improve drastically. Don’t hide behind the online shield or think that, “Oh, it’s just an online dating profile. This stuff will never work. ”  Whether you’re on a free site or a paid portal, take the time to show the men or women out there that you’re concerned about your appearance…in writing.
After all, you may never get a second chance.

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