In the world of PR, the correct use of grammar and spelling is essential. With a main objective of helping businesses get their message out there and achieve greater success, we know all too well that the hard work this entails can be damaged in an instant with a misspelled press release or a website that is rife with poorly edited copy.
It should come as little surprise that people are deterred from using companies that have obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on their websites or within their marketing material. Such errors raise questions of trust and credibility; it can show businesses to be unprofessional and uncaring.
When it comes to making an impression on a potential customer, you have a limited timescale. In order to hold their attention you need to ensure all promotional materials are grammatically correct or you may well find yourself losing important business.
Whilst it might seem obvious to check you have capital letters, commas and full stops in the right places, these are only a few of the most common mistakes that I regularly come across. Here are some examples of other typical errors:
- Confusing homophones – Homophones are words that sound similar but have different meanings, such as: They’re (contraction of “they are”), their (a possessive pronoun), there (a location)
- Could have, could of; should have, should of; would have, would of – Remove “could of,” “should of,” and “would of” from your vocabulary completely.
- Alot – A lot is two words. Alot is not a word.
- It’s or its? – “it’s” should only be used as a condensed form of “it is.” “Its”, on the other hand, is a possessive pronoun which indicates ownership.
- I or me? – “I” should always be the subject of a sentence or clause, whereas “me” is the object.
- Than or then? – “than” is used for comparison, while “then” conveys time
- Less or fewer? – “If you can count it, it’s ‘fewer’ if you can’t count it, use ‘less’
- To or too? – “To” is either the start of an infinitive or a preposition. “Too” is an adverb which expresses excess.
- Lose or loose? – To “lose” something indicates something that is no longer in your possession. “Loose” is an adjective, meaning the opposite of “close-fitting”.
- Apostrophes for “plural’s” – Only possessive words (and contractions) should include apostrophes.
Whilst these particular faux pas are some of my biggest pet peeves, there are many other blunders likely to hinder your chances of securing new customers. Having worked so hard to build the reputation of your business, it would be senseless to ruin it with poorly written copy in your company brochure, on your website, or of course when posting statuses on your social media platforms. If you have little time to devote to getting it right or you’re not confident in your own ability to produce quality writing, appoint someone who is or consult a professional for assistance.