Writing Tips

Legal Writing

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Fishing and Renal Services

Why Spellcheck Isn't Enough – With Examples

Fair or not, readers evaluate what we say by how we say it. If our writing contains typos, we signal to our readers that we don’t care about what we’re saying, and if we don’t care, why should they? Every typo chips away at our credibility.


Typos come in three sizes. First, the little typo: We’re not confused, just amused:


the current plat is not economically feasibility

those who have conducted experiment with Oust

and so it not surprising

Forest service

which is also accords with

based on Jeff’ email

its ability to indicate with when someone is responding

initiate an action for recover of a fraudulent transfer

prior to the terminating the APX contract


Second, typos that might be more serious problems like grammatical slips or incorrect word usage; we’re not sure. These make colleagues and clients wonder, “If they can’t get the simple things right, how can I trust them to straighten out the more complicated stuff?”


the independent contractors’ conduct were incidental

the principals acts of ratification

it is TRM, and not the customers, who seek relief

plaintiffs experts looked at the evidence


Third, clumps of words that make no sense:


Accordingly, Unico’s best defense is to argue that the independent contract department from the ordinary course of conducting the activity.


If I’m Unico’s in-house counsel, I’m thinking, “Wow, that’s my best defense? And the guy who wrote that sentence is representing me in front of a judge who's going to decide what happens to us?”


Every writer needs an editor. (See Tip: “A Secret Writing Weapon.”) Have your secretary or a colleague proofread everything you send down the hall or across the country. A proofreader does not need an advanced degree to spot slips like these:


on a number if occasions

an attorney is compelled withdraw

$110,000 per year as well was the opportunity to earn commissions

a number of claims against employees and potential the corporate entity

Under Oregon law, pesticides are considered hazardous waste under Oregon law.


Last, you’ve heard it before: Do not rely on spellcheck or grammar check. Centuries before such programs were available, the scribes' misspelling of public provided raucous entertainment for kings and queens, beggars and serfs. Since the inception of this software, we have seen not a dent in the misspelling, from National Pubic Radio, to our president's new pubic policy, to pubic relations, to the monthly meeting of Pubic Information Officers. And of course we all want to provide our children with a good pubic education. I'm sure I missed a few.


Rental and renal are also spelled correctly. But in the energy production sector along the Texas Gulf Coast, we should not confuse them:


Fusion offers a variety of onshore energy production services, including workover services, fluid and logistics services, fishing and renal services, and drilling.


Make sure they wash their hands first.


We all make mistakes—you know I do; we’ll never get it 100 percent correct. But at the level at which we write, we have to be correct almost all of the time. So either read carefully for typos in one final pass, or have someone you trust do that for you. And both of you should use WordRake to help you find the extraneous words that obscure the words with meaning. Your credibility rides with every sentence.

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About Gary Kinder

Gary Kinder

WordRake founder Gary Kinder has taught over 1,000 writing programs for AMLAW 100 firms, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author. As a writing expert and coach, Gary was inspired to create WordRake when he noticed a pattern in writing errors that he thought he could address with technology.

In 2012, Gary and his team of engineers created WordRake editing software to help writers produce clear, concise, and effective prose. It saves time and gives confidence. Writing and editing has never been easier.

WordRake takes you beyond the merely grammatical to the truly great—the quality editor you’ve always wanted. See for yourself.

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How Does it Work?

WordRake is editing software designed by writing expert and New York Times bestselling author Gary Kinder. Like an editor or helpful colleague, WordRake ripples through your document checking for needless words and cumbersome phrases. Its complex algorithms find and improve weak lead-ins, confusing language, and high-level grammar and usage slips.

WordRake runs in Microsoft Word and Outlook, and its suggestions appear in the familiar track-changes style. If you’ve used track changes, you already know how to use WordRake. There’s nothing to learn and nothing to interpret. Editing for clarity and brevity has never been easier.