Sunday, October 16, 2011

Avoid These Simple Grammar Goofs in Your Business Marketing

Many business owners did not pay attention in English class. After all, they were too busy dreaming about the company they wanted to start. But using poor grammar in your company's marketing (or any e-mail) communication reflects poorly on our business.

It hurts our business because many customers reason that if the company can't get the spelling correctly, how can they trust them to  solve their problem, right? And it's a valid point. I am guilty of spelling and grammar mistakes in my communications—and sometimes in these articles.

Here's what you can do to ensure your spelling and grammar are correct in all our communications.

1. Let it age

We are in too much of a rush to get work out the door—but every type of marketing communication needs to age. Do the work and leave it for a few days. Go back and read it with a fresh set of eyes to see if it still makes sense. Better yet, have at least two people proof the information.

2. Turn spell check on

It's amazing how many people don't use this feature in their word processor. Turn it on and note the changes it suggests!

3. Read it out loud

Reading the material out loud (or whispering at your desk and yes, you must move your lips for this to work) will often point out parts that need to be improved that may not be apparent when things are read silently.

Additionally, here some of my top grammar problems and how to cure them.

The Problem: "He will send Sara or myself a message."

The Cure: Practice deleting anyone else in the sentence and then read it aloud to get the right pronoun. "He will send Sara or me a message."

The Problem: Well vs. good.

The Cure: Good describes things, places and people. Well describes an action.

The Problem: Affect vs. effect.

The Cure: The majority of the time use affect with an a as verb and effect with an e.

The Problem: Fewer vs. less.

The Cure: If you can't count them, use less. Fewer hours. Less time.

The Problem: Loose vs. lose.

The Cure: Think about what the words mean. Loose is something not fixed in place. Lose is to not retaining something. Remember, you can't be a "looser."

The Problem: It's vs. Its vs. Its'.

The Cure: It's is a contraction short for It is. Its is a possessive pronoun referring to ownership. Its' is just plain wrong.

The Problem: i.e. vs. e.g.

The Cure: i.e. means "that is" and e.g. means "for example." Don't ask why.

The Problem: Your vs. you're.

The Cure: Your is possessive and you're is a contraction short for you are.

The Problem: Than vs. then.

The Cure: Than is a comparison while then is a description of time.

The Problem: Would vs. could.

The Cure: Would is definite—if certain things happen. Could is only a broad possibility.

Has grammar got your company in hot water? What are your top  pet peeves and how do you fix them?

Thanks to Barry Moltz Small Business Speaker, Consultant, and Author / Open Forum / American Express Company


No comments: