Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Common Grammar Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb

As easy as these mistakes are to make, they are also easy to catch. Luckily, they are also easy to fix!

When applying for a job, pitching an idea, communicating with a client, or selling a prospect, the smallest mistakes can kill the deal. Not only will you look unprofessional and careless, you could also look dumb!

I often get pitched ideas for a new business, but my perception of the person behind a potentially great idea might be completely thrown off if that person makes a dumb grammar mistake in an email. How can you expect me to think of you as a professional if you can't take the time to double check your grammar? Or maybe you simply don't know the write (got you!) rules.

With the number of emails we send every day, it's now more important than ever to double check what we are sending. I've highlighted a few of the most common errors people make, all of which should be avoided.

1. You're vs. Your

You are = You're. For example, "You're officially part of the club. Congratulations!"

Related to you = Your. For example, "Thank you. Your efforts have undeniably increased our revenue stream"

Biggest common mistake: Your welcome. Should be You're welcome!

2. They're vs. Their vs. There

They are = They're. For example: "They're joining us for dinner Friday evening, so be sure and purchase enough soda for the entire group"

Belonging to them = Their. For example: "Their dedication was simply remarkable, and I would work with them again in a heartbeat"

Regarding a location = There. For example: "I will leave the envelope over there"

3. Lose vs. Loose

Opposite of win = Lose. For example: "I have a feeling the Bulls are going to lose this game"

Opposite of tight = Loose. For example: "Please fix the loose handle immediately"

4. It's vs. Its

Short for it is or it has = It's. For example: "This is going to change the way we view this industry. It's earth-shattering!"

Possessive form of it = Its. For example: "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on" - Winston Churchill

5. Effect vs. Affect

A result = Effect. For example: "The lighting had a major effect on productivity levels. With more natural light in the room, employees appear more inspired"

To influence = Affect. For example: "The new HR team is affecting employees' motivation, and the feedback we have been receiving is overwhelmingly positive!"

6. Alot

This word does not exist What you are trying to say is "a lot" for example, maybe you have a lot of marketing experience. Additionally, it is unprofessional. Try replacing this with words like "ample" or "x years of marketing experience".

7. Then vs. Than

Time related =Then. For example: "We are looking forward to meeting you then"

Comparison related =Than. For example: "I much prefer to meet in my area, rather than yours, as mine has a wide variety of restaurants and coffee shops"

Saying "I have more to offer then that" to an investor won't lead to your next round of funding.

Save this guide. Reference it. Don't let being in a rush make you look like a fool. Edit your work, or ask someone else to glance at it for you. These errors may seem insignificant, but your intelligence will be questioned when these mistakes are discovered...and they will be.

What common mistakes do you see? Does it change your perception of the person that made them? Please comment below.

Thanks to Ilya Pozin / LinkedIn / Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur


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