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Word Crimes, or What Grammar Says About Your Brand

Grammar isn’t one of those things you usually notice until it starts going wrong. With people texting exponentially more than they did a decade ago and e-mail becoming a nearly ubiquitous primary source of communication in place of phone calls and face-to-face meetings, our grammar skills – not to mention our ability to properly spell out actual words – seem to have taken a precipitous plunge.

To be clear, I’m not trying to demonize modern technology. In fact, I think it should be embraced. But, grammar says a lot about you as a brand. So if you’re in charge of managing a brand, pay attention. Proper spelling and grammar can set you apart from everyone else. It shows that your company/brand is professional, sophisticated, intelligent, and trustworthy.

Conversely, if you don’t have command of proper grammatical skills and carelessly commit a number of “word crimes,” it will completely undermine you and your brand. That’s your first impression with a potential client. Poor grammar can ruin it pretty quickly and make it that much harder for you to succeed. Potential clients see you and/or your company as careless, providing a poor quality product, unreliable, not trustworthy, and just plain ignorant.

You don’t need to get a PhD in English. You just need to be careful. Proofread everything. In fact, proofread it three times and then get someone else to look at it. If you aren’t sure about something, look it up online.
Let’s say you needed to find a plumber. With all other credentials being equal, which one would you call:
A) ABC Plumbing. We clean you’re pipes real good.
B) ABC Plumbing. We clean your pipes really well.

Hopefully, you picked B for its proper use of “your” and “well.” For more grammatical lessons, check out Purdue University, the old-standby of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, or just Google the grammar in question. For a fun lesson, Weird Al made this new video. It’s pretty awesome.

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