Archive for October 23, 2012

For a Few Dollars More

I received an election brochure from a candidate for the local school board. The glossy, full-color trifold was printed by a union shop and mailed first class, so this guy’s election committee wasn’t pinching pennies.


What a shame that they didn’t bother to proofread the darn thing, or better yet, pay a professional to do it! So many errors jumped out at first glance, out of curiosity, I decided to wield more than my mental red pen. A quick markup yielded over a dozen needed corrections to punctuation, capitalization, grammar, tense and syntax! Persuading voters to support this candidate’s efforts to improve educational quality might be easier if his campaign literature better reflected an awareness of basic writing skills.


A campaign pamphlet is the most obvious example of a document that, for better or worse, represents the sender. Effectively communicating your intended message is hard enough without the distractions and negative impression created by error-riddled text!


Because we use language daily, and have done so for most of our lives, it’s easy to assume that translates into the ability to write clearly and correctly. Yeah, and running five miles a week makes me an elite athlete. Unless you read and write extensively and have years of training and experience applying rules of grammar and following style manuals, I’ll wager your written communication might benefit from a professional touch.


I don’t question his sincerity or desire to improve local schools, but for just a few dollars more, this candidate’s brochure might have demonstrated that his stated focus on accountability and excellence begins with his own efforts.