Typos for dollars: What your grammar teacher never told you

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If 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.