Typos for dollars: What your grammar teacher never told you

keyboardIf you write for a living, then you know only too well, that proper spelling, grammar and punctuation are essential to your craft. If you write for work or business purposes, then you know that accuracy in writing is a critical part of your skill set.

Through your school years, your teachers must have tried to impress upon you the importance of proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation in your written work. What they probably didn't provide you with however, was a body of evidence to support their assertions. Few writing instructors actually provide examples of how one small word, or the placement of a comma, can cost hundreds, thousands, or even multi-millions of dollars.

An example of the tremendous power of one word, can be drawn from my own experience. It occurred deep within the text of a final divorce decree which I signed. The original document, which arrived from my former spouse's attorney, had a sentence in it which declared that I agreed to pay, "...all debts incurred by her..." Knowing that was not what we had agreed upon, I simply struck out the word -her- and inserted the word -him. As near as I can figure it, changing that one word saved me at least $11,000.

Some people do make money by exploiting the textual errors of others. They find other people's written mistakes and capitalize on them. It's fairly well known on eBay that some great bargains can be had by finding items which were listed with misspelled words in their titles. Misspelled listing titles on eBay and other online selling venues can often result in reduced viewer traffic to those listings, which undoubtedly results in reduced bidding volume and prices. The Misspelling & Typo Blog, provides a short list of some commonly misspelled search terms on eBay. The list includes such interesting names as Abercrombie, Disney, and Playstation 3. In some instances, money can be made by purchasing the misspelled items at their non-performing price point and then reselling them with properly spelled keywords.

Some great examples of absolutely huge spelling and grammar gaffes, which have resulted in million dollar errors, are also provided by The Misspelling and Typo Blog. Once you have seen how such tiny little errors can cost such tremendous sums of money, you might be a little more careful about reading the next contract that you sign. Someone else's careless writing could cost you dearly if you're not certain that things are spelled out as they should be. As always, if there is anything confusing or questionable within a contract you are required to sign, seek the assistance of an attorney.
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