Beware the Apostrophist – Your Newsletter and Those Pesky Typos

I’m glad the Apostrophist doesn’t read this blog. He’d be
after me with his big, black Sharpie – and I’d be in

More about this grammar vigilante in a sec.

The thing is, when I re-read one of these messages a day or
two after I’ve posted it, I always spot a typo or seven.

That makes me cringe.

In my defense, let me say that I write these emails in my
head while in the shower, rush to the computer and dash them

But listen: do as I say – not as I do.

Because typos – spelling errors, clumsy grammar, shoddy
constructions – should be avoided in your newsletter. They
make you look bad.

The newsletters I make for my clients are pored over by a
professional proof-reading company (,
where not one but two editors painstakingly highlight every

And yet the occasional mistake still slips through. Such is

But in the interests of preserving your newsletter dignity,
here are some tips:

1)    Put it away in a drawer for at least a day. There’s
nothing like fresh eyes to make the invisible glaringly

2)    Read it backwards. It’s a great way to spot that
most evil, stealthy typo, the the repeated word.

3)    Have someone else read it. You’re blind to your own
errors; a friend can see better.

4)    Use the online spelling and grammar checker made by
After the Deadline. You can paste your text into the window
at for a multicolored summary of
your errors. It’s miles better than the Bill Gates version
in Word.

However, don’t get hung up on it. You’re writing to
communicate, not please your Grade 9 teacher.

Just make sure you strike a balance between appearing like a
slapdash writer and a dreary pendant.

Speaking of which – back to the Apostrophist.

He’s a 62-year-old English accountant who was so incensed by
the missing apostrophes in his neighborhood’s street signs
that he corrected them with a Sharpie. St Johns Close in
Tunbridge Wells was transformed into St John’s Close with the
stroke of a pen.

“I think one should stand up for things and language is
worth standing up for. The trouble is that everything is
dumbed down now,” he said.

I have to agree.