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Why poor grammar can damage your business

Many businesses fail to appreciate that the written word is THEIR window to the world and a valuable marketing tool which can attract or potentially deter new clients. Poor grammar, simple spelling mistakes and a lack of punctuation are all contributing factors that can send customers running in the opposite direction.  

The well written word is an essential component of business communication as it establishes credibility and professionalism. Marketing emails and advertising leaflets containing spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors are a prime example of poor business promotion. Why spend money on thousands of error-riddled leaflets which will have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve? Send out an email with poor grammar and it will look amateurish. Sloppy marketing will make people question your overall ability to do business irrespective of how good you are at your job. When it comes to content, what’s even more surprising is the number of people who are simply oblivious to the difference between common words such as “you’re” and “your” or who persist in saying “I could of” instead of “could have” – the list is endless!

Grammar and spell checkers are far from infallible and, if anything, have even contributed to the current decline in written English standards. A software programme won’t necessarily tell you if your spelling of the word is correct, but incorrect in context. I have a friend who regularly posts on Facebook “of cause” instead of “of course” – I haven’t the heart to try to explain her error to her as it’s in a personal rather than business context, but if I came across it in the professional sphere I’d run a mile.

So, what can you do to ensure your written communication is up to scratch? A good tip is to read aloud when writing – you can often pick up simple mistakes this way. Use a dictionary (online or paper) to double check the spelling of words and a thesaurus to broaden your vocabulary. Make time to brush up on basic grammar and if you have neither the time nor inclination to do this, then hire someone to do it for you. Professional proofreading doesn’t cost the earth, but it could save you a small fortune and enhance your business image. 

Pippa Wastell