I wasn’t taught grammar at school. I’m not quite sure why it wasn’t on the curriculum back then, but I think many people my age are in the same boat when it comes to writing accurately.
Is grammar important?
In a society where an emoji speaks a thousand words, probably not. Our thoughts aren’t grammatically correct and our speech isn’t either, but there is an insistence that when you formalise your words and write them down, they should adhere to the rules formulated by Robert Lowth and his grammarian followers in the 1700s.
If Shakespeare can use the double negative and the double superlative and be considered one of the greatest writers of all time, surely some simple grammar mistakes are allowed in any piece of writing.
People notice mistakes.
I’m not a purist when it comes to grammar, but I do think that getting some of the rules right is important. But, then again, it depends on the purpose of the writing and where it will be read. If it’s a mistake on a Facebook post, I will let you off. However, if these mistakes are on your website then I think they need to be rectified quite quickly.
A very simple one. If you are considering an apostrophe, ask yourself “who does it belong to?”. If you can’t answer that question, it is highly likely you don’t need an apostrophe as it is a plural. Simply add an s (or the equivalent plural suffix). It goes without saying when you are writing contractions (merging two words together such as can’t) don’t leave out the apostrophe. It just makes it trickier to read.
These are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Let’s just go with ‘there’ and ‘their’ as a quick example. ‘There’ signifies a place and ‘their’ signifies possession. They are really two very different words. There are loads of homophones out there, so it is best to check you are using the correct spelling in your writing.
I think I could blog about commas several times over. Everyone knows that commas break up a list. However, I see comma splicing over and over again. This is when two sentences have been joined by a comma rather than a full stop. It leads to run-on sentences that don’t read clearly.
When does grammar matter?
It matters when you want to show your business in the best light. It matters when you want people to believe you have a good eye for detail and that you undertake tasks accurately. We all make these mistakes. Text, spell checker, social media has left us more susceptible to making these errors, but that doesn’t mean we should just forget about them.
We all need help when it comes to running a business and a keen eye to double-check your writing may be just what you need to ensure that what you put in front of your customers is accurate.
Want me to check things over? Send me an email. I’ll have my red pen ready!