Why copy-edit? (also known as "Doing what spellchecker can not do")
To make sure that the words are correct and in the right place, and are saying exactly what you want them to say, as well as:
- differentiating between words that have different forms (for example, complement and compliment; principal and principle)
- watching out for transposed or missing letters (for example, form instead of from; though instead of through)
- removing badly-behaved apostrophes from where they shouldn't be, and putting them where they should be (the difference between client's and clients' can make a significant difference as to how your business is perceived).
The point of communication is to be understood. If the meaning of a sentence is obvious, what does it matter if the grammar does not follow a formal structure; the wrong form of a word has been used; there are typographical errors; the punctuation is bad, or non-existent? In day-to-day conversation it may not matter at all. But if you are trying to secure business, make a critical decision, present a persuasive argument, or gain someone's confidence, how successfully you achieve that will be determined by your words. Impressions about you, or your business, will be formed from your words. That is why it matters for the words to be correct.
What type of material? (you may have other needs)
- client communications, especially for pension scheme member communications
- publicity, advertising, promotion material, leaflets and brochures, in-house announcements
- operating and training procedures, guides and manuals
- function processes, technical material
- business plans, reports and investment proposals
- books and journals
- web page content and on-screen material.
Rules, or clarity?
It is more important to use words that make your meaning clear, and to create sentences that flow smoothly and help the reader along, than to slavishly follow arbitrary rules dating from the late 18th century.