Grammar Giggles – Beware Search and Replace!

I’m sharing this one from my own desk. As a rule, I don’t trust global search and replace, but thought it was probably OK to replace “Company” with “City” in a document. What are the chances that it wouldn’t work? Well, apparently there was a very good chance. This was the result of that global search and replace. Luckily, I actually read the document after making the switch,  so I found this and was able to correct it before anyone else saw it. Just another example of why you can’t just use software options without making sure it does EXACTLY what you need EVERY time you need it.

Dangers of global replace

Email Tips

Photo credit: card karma / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: card karma / Foter / CC BY

I’ve written about email before (see In today’s business world, and particularly in law firms, email is incredibly important. It is sometimes the only impression someone in another law firm has of you so make it a good one! Here are more tips:

  • When you are sending an email on behalf of your firm, it is business correspondence, so make sure to follow your firm’s protocol for correspondence.
  • When you are sending an email to a group of people who do not know each other, are not part of your firm, or are members of an organization and particularly groups that may include vendors, use the blind copy (bcc) for all the names. That way, each person gets a copy of the email but everyone doesn’t see exactly who else received the message. This keeps groups of people from receiving unwanted “reply all” messages and from being added to mailing lists they didn’t choose to be included in. It is common courtesy.
  • If you are typing an important email, wait to enter the recipients’ information until you have finished typing and proofreading the email and making sure the appropriate attachments are included. Once you are completely satisfied, then add the email addresses of the recipients. This will keep an email that isn’t done or isn’t quite right from the random send before you are ready.
  • SLOW DOWN! Don’t type emails without taking the time to actually read them and make sure the proper things are attached. Moving too fast and multitasking are bad combinations when drafting emails. Know that when you send an email outside your office, it is difficult, if not impossible, to recall it if somehow you’ve attached the wrong file or have a major typo. This happened to me just today. I call it one of my “Squirrel” moments (which I have a lot of throughout the day). If you don’t know what a Squirrel moment is, watch the Disney movie Up.
  • Make sure the subject line reflects the actual subject of the email. It helps get your emails read by the recipients and helps them sort and file emails appropriately. With the volume of emails people receive these days, anything you can do to help them keep their email under control will be appreciated.
  • If your email is really urgent and important, indicate that in the subject line. Start the subject line with “URGENT” or “NEED RESPONSE” and then add the identifying information about the subject of your email. You can also use the buttons to indicate priority status if that is available in your email program. Some recipients have their email set up so that those messages go directly to the top of their inbox so they see those first. The one caveat I have is not to overdo use of these triggers or, like the boy who cried “wolf,” the triggers will be ignored.
  • If you are away for a day or more with limited access to email (which is how days away from the office should be), use the “out of office” feature of your email. It helps people who send you emails know not to expect to receive an immediate response. Otherwise, they may think you are just ignoring their email when, in fact, you haven’t seen it yet. Remember that immediate gratification seems to be the status quo in the business world today. Senders of email expect to receive a response right away and if they don’t receive one, it could tarnish your firm’s reputation and label you and your firm as nonresponsive.
  • Don’t compose an email while you are angry. Or, better yet, compose the email (without adding the addressee’s email address just yet to ensure that it doesn’t accidentally get sent) to get it out of your system. Then delete it and compose an email worth sending.
  • Do not send an email complaining about a co-worker, boss, client, expert, etc. Those emails somehow have a way of “leaking” and you don’t want to be a part of that debacle.
  • If you receive an email requiring a response but you don’t have time to respond right then, email back and indicate that you have received the email, but will get back to them later with the response. It will let them know you’re aware of the task and not just ignoring their email (which could cause several more follow-up emails).

Hopefully, one or two of these tips will help you with your email. Email is important and you need to take the time to make sure your email reflects your professionalism and your and your firm’s concern for accuracy.


Grammar Giggles – Expletive Deleted

I saw this on the news the other day during a story about the arrest of the alleged Phoenix freeway shooter. I thought what they MEANT to say was “expletive,” which is typically used in place of a swear word (which I would assume news stations use all the time to remove offensive language in quoted material). However, this quote uses “explicative.” Thinking that perhaps I just didn’t understand the definition and it could have been correct, I looked it up on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. The definition of “explicative” according to that source is “serving to explicate; specifically :  serving to explain logically what is contained in the subject <an explicative proposition>,” while the definition of “expletive” is “a word or phrase (such as “Damn it!”) that people sometimes say when they are angry or in pain; especially : one that is offensive.” It looks like actual expletives would have worked in these sentences and NOT explicatives.

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Grammar Giggles – Newcomer . . . Just One?

I spent Sunday with friends at the Delmar Racetrack. Weather was beautiful, wine was delicious, and time with friends was amazing. However, as the girls say now, “We can’t go anywhere nice.” They say that because as soon as I pull my phone out, they start looking around for errors. This one I found right inside the gates as we were walking in. “Newcomer’s Seminar Daily” was one of the first signs we saw. While I commend the Track on helping people new to horse racing to be comfortable with the language, etc., I wondered to myself why they only held a seminar for one newcomer at a time. When you add the possessive, you should test it by taking off the apostrophe (and the “s” if one is there) to check the root word. In this case, that word would be “newcomer” which is obviously singular–one newcomer. They also apparently know the correct way to state it because it was correct in the program. They are training all of the “newcomers,” so you would START with that word and then make it possessive.

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Grammar Giggles – Happy Anniversary Proof That Blog!

Proof That Blog is 3 years old! Thank you so much to my regular readers for continuing to read, for referring the blog to others, and for sending me Grammar Giggles you find along the way. Thank you also to those who stumble upon the blog, include links, and check back every now and then. When I started this adventure, I had no idea that three years later there would be over 300 posts with over 26,000 views (OK–maybe 25,000 because we shouldn’t count when I look things up there) from almost every country in the world. Overwhelming? Definitely! Heartwarming? Very definitely! Hopefully Proof That Blog is helping someone and making a few of you giggle. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a note at [email protected] anytime you have a topic idea or find a Grammar Giggle. I love hearing from you! Here’s to many more years of proofreading tips!