• First, does it make sense?

  • Second, does it follow the rules?

  • Third, does it look good?

  • Make sure everyone agrees.

  • Follow the Chicago Manual of Style unless otherwise specified by the client.

  • Use spell check. There’s no excuse for not using the tools available to you.

  • Use bullet points correctly.

  • Use Word styles.

  • Check for typos that spell check won’t catch.

  • Do a sanity check - does it make sense? If I were the client, what would I be thinking as I read this?

  • Be consistent in how you refer to client-specific items. Even if they don’t have a brand guideline to follow, be consistent in how you refer to their products and processes.

  • Are your sentences clear and to the point? You don’t get any points for complexity or “fancy” sentences. Get rid of empty phrases.

  • Did you use simple words, rather than more complex ones? You don’t get any points for trying to sound corporate or smart.

  • If you know that ESL learners will take the course and/or that it will be translated, avoid American colloquialisms.

  • Be conversational. Ask yourself, “Would I say this in a real conversation?” If not, get it to a point where you would.

  • Don’t use passive voice. The person/thing doing the action should be the subject of the sentence.

  • Stick to one voice. Don’t switch between past, present, and future.

  • Use present voice, unless it doesn’t make sense. For example: Instead of “learners will” just say “learners”.

  • Do your nouns and pronouns agree?

  • Do your subjects and verbs agree? Remember that “they” and “learners” are plural subjects and need plural verbs.

  • Check especially that you are using commas correctly. Comma mistakes are the errors reviewers fix most often.

  • Write out numbers from zero to ten as words and numbers above ten as numerals.

  • A list implies there is more than one thing. Always have more than one bullet in a list.

  • Use a period if a bullet point completes a sentence or is its own sentence.

  • Make sure each bullet point uses parallel construction. Start each bullet in the same way (verb, adjective, noun, etc.).

      {"cards":[{"_id":"42ef27723e0316470a00000f","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":16016,"position":1,"parentId":null,"content":"First, does it make sense?"},{"_id":"432fa49bca36eca0c000001d","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":103575,"position":0.5,"parentId":"42ef27723e0316470a00000f","content":"[ ] Read through your entire document, slide deck, email or whatever you're creating. "},{"_id":"432facd9ca36eca0c000001e","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":77813,"position":1,"parentId":"432fa49bca36eca0c000001d","content":"Check for typos that spell check won't catch. "},{"_id":"432fad3cca36eca0c000001f","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47853,"position":2,"parentId":"432fa49bca36eca0c000001d","content":"Do a sanity check - does it make sense? If I were the client, what would I be thinking as I read this?"},{"_id":"432fd6a9ca36eca0c0000022","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47877,"position":3,"parentId":"432fa49bca36eca0c000001d","content":"Be consistent in how you refer to client-specific items. Even if they don't have a brand guideline to follow, be consistent in how you refer to their products and processes. "},{"_id":"42ef6a443e0316470a00001a","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":271571,"position":0.75,"parentId":"42ef27723e0316470a00000f","content":"[X] Make sure the intended audience can read it."},{"_id":"42ef6aa83e0316470a00001b","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47911,"position":1,"parentId":"42ef6a443e0316470a00001a","content":"Are your sentences clear and to the point? You don't get any points for complexity or \"fancy\" sentences. Get rid of empty phrases."},{"_id":"42ef6b8e3e0316470a00001c","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":16024,"position":2,"parentId":"42ef6a443e0316470a00001a","content":"Did you use simple words, rather than more complex ones? You don't get any points for trying to sound corporate or smart."},{"_id":"42ef72c13e0316470a00001d","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47882,"position":3,"parentId":"42ef6a443e0316470a00001a","content":"If you know that ESL learners will take the course and/or that it will be translated, avoid American colloquialisms. "},{"_id":"432fdca8ca36eca0c0000023","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47878,"position":4,"parentId":"42ef6a443e0316470a00001a","content":"Be conversational. Ask yourself, \"Would I say this in a real conversation?\" If not, get it to a point where you would. "},{"_id":"42ef2ae33e0316470a000012","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":103577,"position":1,"parentId":"42ef27723e0316470a00000f","content":"[ ] Check your voice."},{"_id":"42ef54623e0316470a000015","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":15937,"position":2,"parentId":"42ef2ae33e0316470a000012","content":"Don't use passive voice. The person/thing doing the action should be the subject of the sentence.\n"},{"_id":"42ef55d23e0316470a000016","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":15939,"position":3,"parentId":"42ef2ae33e0316470a000012","content":"Stick to one voice. Don't switch between past, present, and future. "},{"_id":"42ef56703e0316470a000017","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":15940,"position":4,"parentId":"42ef2ae33e0316470a000012","content":"Use present voice, unless it doesn't make sense. For example: Instead of \"learners will\" just say \"learners\"."},{"_id":"42ef2ca73e0316470a000014","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":16019,"position":1.75,"parentId":null,"content":"Second, does it follow the rules?"},{"_id":"42ef77c03e0316470a00001f","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":16044,"position":1,"parentId":"42ef2ca73e0316470a000014","content":"Make sure everyone agrees. "},{"_id":"42ef78673e0316470a000020","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":16045,"position":1,"parentId":"42ef77c03e0316470a00001f","content":"Do your nouns and pronouns agree? "},{"_id":"42ef791b3e0316470a000021","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":16046,"position":2,"parentId":"42ef77c03e0316470a00001f","content":"Do your subjects and verbs agree? Remember that \"they\" and \"learners\" are plural subjects and need plural verbs."},{"_id":"42ef75353e0316470a00001e","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":16039,"position":2,"parentId":"42ef2ca73e0316470a000014","content":"Follow the Chicago Manual of Style unless otherwise specified by the client. "},{"_id":"432fb02cca36eca0c0000020","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47854,"position":1,"parentId":"42ef75353e0316470a00001e","content":"Check especially that you are using commas correctly. Comma mistakes are the errors reviewers fix most often."},{"_id":"432fb3faca36eca0c0000021","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47857,"position":2,"parentId":"42ef75353e0316470a00001e","content":"Write out numbers from zero to ten as words and numbers above ten as numerals."},{"_id":"432fa2e9ca36eca0c000001c","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47829,"position":3,"parentId":"42ef2ca73e0316470a000014","content":"Use spell check. There's no excuse for not using the tools available to you. "},{"_id":"42ef29613e0316470a000010","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":15844,"position":2,"parentId":null,"content":""},{"_id":"42ef2a5a3e0316470a000011","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47797,"position":3,"parentId":null,"content":"Third, does it look good?\n"},{"_id":"432f9a66ca36eca0c0000016","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47800,"position":1,"parentId":"42ef2a5a3e0316470a000011","content":"Use bullet points correctly. "},{"_id":"432f9aceca36eca0c0000017","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47802,"position":1,"parentId":"432f9a66ca36eca0c0000016","content":"A list implies there is more than one thing. Always have more than one bullet in a list."},{"_id":"432f9c03ca36eca0c0000019","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47807,"position":2,"parentId":"432f9a66ca36eca0c0000016","content":"Use a period if a bullet point completes a sentence or is its own sentence."},{"_id":"432f9cd9ca36eca0c000001a","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47817,"position":3,"parentId":"432f9a66ca36eca0c0000016","content":"Make sure each bullet point uses parallel construction. Start each bullet in the same way (verb, adjective, noun, etc.)."},{"_id":"432fa112ca36eca0c000001b","treeId":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","seq":47819,"position":2,"parentId":"42ef2a5a3e0316470a000011","content":"Use Word styles."}],"tree":{"_id":"42ef27633e0316470a00000d","name":"BLP Editing Checklist","publicUrl":"blp-editing-checklist"}}