There is no law that prohibits dating a friend’s ex. You won’t go to jail if you drink your roommate’s last Diet Coke. There is no commandment that states that men shalt not wear mock turtlenecks.
However, just because these practices are technically permissible, it doesn’t mean that we should do them.
The same rule applies to our writing. Just because something we write is technically grammatically correct, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best way to express it. Here are a couple of examples:
(The apostrophe is inserted correctly.)
(The comma is correct and Nike is appropriately capitalized.)
The writers of these headlines were trying to convey messages about politics and golf, but here I am wondering if Obama's package is big enough to raise the debt ceiling on its own.
When we proofread our work, we have to do the best we can to see our writing through our readers' eyes. This is challenging because we know what message we are trying to convey. Therefore, even if proofread our work, we might not notice that we've inserted male genitalia references into our writing.
Have you ever made a similar error?
What are your most successful proofreading techniques?