The whole idea behind proofreading business documents is to let clients know that the organization employs a professional bunch of executives who follow a consistent writing style. It’s an establishment’s way of telling the clients that it is professional enough to work as a team and follow a disciplined approach in writing. 

To appreciate the importance of proofreading, imagine what sloppy proofreading means, in terms of loss to the business: the company appears unprofessional to the clients and the business misses out on prospective clients. Company documents put together in a willy-nilly way give clients the impression that it’s an unsystematic and clueless organization.

Notwithstanding how hard the executives are trying to give good impression to business clients, if the language is not straight and contains proofreading issues, patrons are going to dump the company in favor of the one that values the proofread business reports and literature.

Proofreading skills are essential to a business, especially in the age of global business establishments, MNCs and BPOs. A lot of the global business deals depend on the impression executives make while meeting and conversing with overseas clients. Likewise, the clients judge a lot about a business by the way it presents itself through company reports and literature, and with effective proofreading, management can create that same sort of impression on clients with written communication.

An error-free report or business document with proper punctuation and capitalization, and lack of typos and grammatical mistakes conveys a positive message to the client and builds an impressive image of the organization. Careless errors, on the other hand, send wrong signals to the clients, and in business, no one likes to work with sloppy management that cannot even get the language straight. So, since business documents, reports, and literature of a business establishment carry its image, to survive the competition in contemporary business world, proofreading is of paramount importance.

UK and US English Usage

Next, it’s also very important to be sensitive to the UK and U.S. English usage. Both the languages are pretty much the same, yet there are significant differences between the two. Since international business executives may need to communicate with UK clients as well as the ones from U.S., it is important to know the subtle differences between them. And all this just to give the right impression to your clients.

One of the differences in UK and U.S. English is that some words exist in UK English but not in U.S. English, and vice-versa. Then, some words and phrases are found in both, except their meanings are completely different.

Word endings, in spellings, tell a lot about these differences in the two. Words ending with ‘our’ in UK English end in ‘or’ in the U.S. English. To pick an example, the U.S. equivalent for ‘vapour’ in UK English is ‘vapor’. UK English has words ending in ‘re’, whereas they often end in ‘er’ in U.S. Plus, UK English ends its words in ‘yse’ (analyse) but in U.S. English such words end in ‘yze’, as in analyze. Ditto for words ending in ‘ise’ and ‘ize’, with U.S., again, favoring (favouring for UK) ‘z’.

Punctuation is another area to be careful about. Use of full stops, which are called periods in U.S., in abbreviations is one of the chief punctuation differences. UK English doesn’t have full stop in abbreviations, unlike U.S. English. For example, Mr Raman Ahuja, PhD in UK English becomes Mr. Raman Ahuja, Ph.D in U.S. English.

By Harpreet Bhagrath

The writer is the editor at Brisbane Indian Connexion and principal editor at Cosmos Media

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