Never publish anything without proofreading. Ideally, have several people proofread. Here is a a case study of how proofreading saved me from becoming a hitman.
This is a true story. I was reviewing a contract recently, full of the usual legalese, when I came across something most non-usual:
“Where it shall appear to the partners that this Agreement, or any terms and conditions contained in this agreement, are in any way ineffective or deficient, or not expressed as originally intended, and any alteration or addition shall be deemed necessary, the partners will enter into, execute, and perform all murder be an instrument as their counsel shall advise. Any addition, alteration, or modification shall be in writing, and no oral agreement shall be effective.”
Did you miss it? OK, here is the abbreviated version:
Yadda yadda yadda yad yadda yadda yad. Yadda yadda yadda yadda yad yadda yad yadda. Yadda yadda yadda the partners will enter into, execute, and perform all murder yadda yad yadda. Yadda yadda yadda yadda yad yadda.
OK, clearly something went wrong in that paragraph. In fact, my best guess is that two things went wrong.
First, it looks like a bad cut and paste left out a few words, because the end of that sentence doesn’t quite fit onto the rest of the sentence. Like trying to sort through the plane crash debris and placing Julia Roberts head on Hulk Hogan’s body (Yes, as a matter of fact I did have a troublesome sleep last night – why do you ask?).
Second, at the junction between the two parts of the sentence, we discover a murder – probably a spell-check anomaly as a result of the bad cut-and-paste. But it still leaves us with some important questions unanswered:
- Exactly who are these partners supposed to murder?
- Does it matter what weapon is used?
- Will the murderer be indemnified by anybody (contracts are always full of people indemnifying each other for their sins, right?)
I love a good murder mystery as much as the next guy. And “contracts” are common in murder mysteries. But a murder mystery is pretty rare in a contract.
So protect yourself from murder and other unintended consequences by proofreading your texts. If you need help, we can proofread for you.
Remember, it’s never “just a typo”.