Bad grammar is becoming more prominent than ever, perhaps in part due to the relentless march of social media.
But let’s not be too quick to point the finger, because bad grammar certainly existed in the time when only a bird was capable of producing a tweet.
There is no doubt that social media has facilitated the use of bad grammar (and spelling) but it is certainly not the cause of it. We could speculate all day long as to why people don’t seem to care as much about the way they communicate their message anymore, but the fact is, as long as they get that message across, there are many who don’t seem to care about the ‘how’.
But here’s the thing: the way you communicate that message does say a lot about you. And in business, appearances are crucial.
Let’s look at a few situations in which a workplace-related grammar gaffe could really have a negative impact on the bottom line of the business, and your individual reputation.
Bad grammar in emails
You are sending an email to a senior member of management, perhaps someone who, at least indirectly, has a role to play in your future career trajectory. What does bad grammar in your email say about your attention to detail or the value you place on the perception that colleagues (and by extension, clients) have of you?
Now it could be that this particular manager cares as little for grammar as you (may) do. But on the other hand, this person could see your error-strewn writing as a professional weakness that could well hold you back.
Bad grammar in marketing
The various ramifications of producing a grammatically incorrect piece of marketing material are probably quite obvious, and again the severity of doing just that will depend on your target audience.
Indeed, amongst younger, trendier audiences, inconsequential grammar oversights could make very little difference at all. But the thing about marketing material is that it is placed very much ‘out there’ for all to see. Any mistakes, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, are reflecting on your brand (and therefore you) in the most critical of ways.
There is an expression along the lines of ‘any publicity is good publicity’, but in terms of grammatical mishaps in your marketing campaigns, that is just not true.
Bad grammar in business literature
Business literature, such as company handbooks, is really just another piece of marketing material, except it could be that this time you are marketing to an internal audience. And as the author of that material, you are actually marketing yourself at the same time. The bad grammar here, as in an important email, is not going to reflect well on you at all.
Bad grammar on social media
Bad grammar is acceptable on social media, right? After all, it’s the Wild West of the written word!
Wrong! Because in amongst all the noise and lack of grammatical consideration are all those people and businesses that can truly define your future career. And in among that number are people who keep a close eye on such things. Again, it is all about accuracy, your attention to detail, and the level of care that you give to your reputation and the way that you are perceived. In business, that matters!
Bad grammar on your resume
Perhaps the biggest grammar ‘fail’ of them all. A mistake on a resume never looks good. If there is one piece of written material that says more about you than anything else, it is your resume.
So, take the time, due care and attention to put something together that is completely free from errors. Use an online writing assistant such as Linguix to help you, proofread it several times, and then get someone else to take a look. It really is important that you put your best foot forward on the marketing literature when the product is you.
The classic mistakes when it comes to grammar are oh so predictable. Here is a little list just to get started:
· their / there
· to / too
· I / me
· who / whom
· which / that
· is / are
The possibilities are perhaps endless, but it is the truly obvious mistakes that reflect worst of all. In most cases, it’s just a complete lack of proofreading. Don’t make that mistake!