Sadly, this is the first paragraph in an automated email I get once a week now that we have a registered puppy. I count three blatant mistakes plus several places where writing could be improved. What do you see?
To be honest, it’s not the mistakes or poor writing that bug me about this. What bugs me is this is yet another example of the dangers of the set-it-and-forget-it mentality many marketers have with automated email. These emails are being sent out when triggered by an event, in this case, our puppy turning 16 weeks old today. No one is double-checking to make sure they are error-free. And if they’re not double-checking to look for errors, how do they know the content is even relevant or useful?
OK, enough ranting. Here are the mistakes I see:
- First, I think the first sentence got cut off. It doesn’t even make sense. It would read better as: “Now that your puppy has some basic obedience training, consider enroll them in an obedience or entry-level dog sport class.”
- Second, I see a punctuation error. There should be a comma after “in addition to a healthy diet,” or em dashes would have worked too. That would read: “By 16 weeks, your puppy will be more coordinated and athletic than he/she was a month ago, so additional opportunities for constructive play—in addition to a healthy die—will help keep your puppy at an age appropriate weight.”
- Third is another punctuation error, although this one might be harder to see: There should be a hyphen between “age” and “appropriate” because the two words are working together to modify “weight.” Correctly written, it would say “age-appropriate weight.”
Did you spot those errors?
Now for the poor writing, oh my! The first and second sentence lack any transition. The paragraph has clutter words. It just seems thrown together, doesn’t it? This is how I’d rewrite it, with revisions showing:
“Now that your puppy has some basic obedience training, perhaps consider enrolling your puppy him/herin an obedience class or entry-level dog sport class. designed? By In addition, at 16 weeks old, your puppy will be is more coordinated and athletic than he/she was a month ago before, so additional opportunitiesfind ways for him/her to play with other puppies., in addition to a healthy diet More activity will also help keep your puppy at an age-appropriate weight. Before going anywhere new, As your puppy goes more places, however, make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccines and parasite preventionpreventatives.”
Without the revision marks, the paragraph reads like:
“Now that your puppy has some basic obedience training, consider enrolling him/her in an obedience or entry-level dog sport class. In addition, at 16 weeks old, your puppy is more coordinated and athletic than before, so find ways for him/her to play with other puppies. More activity will also help keep your puppy at an age-appropriate weight. Before going anywhere new, however, make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccines and parasite prevention.”
It’s still clunky, but at least it flows and is error-free, and it’s nine words shorter.
And, as I said above, what really bugs me is that this sloppiness is in an automated email that’s getting sent out again and again and again, without anyone realizing it’s full of mistakes and poorly written. Sigh…
Oh, and here’s your reward for reading this far: the puppy at 14 weeks old (because at 16 weeks old, it’s hard to get her to hold still long enough for a good picture!)…