Feeling You're Nuts

Last Update: Mar 28, 2022

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How Important Is Grammar?

This is a question that vexes me.

Because to me personally, it's very important. To the extent that I'm far less likely to buy a product if the copy contains grammatical errors and far less likely to be swayed by a written argument that contains grammatical or spelling errors.

They can totally change the intended meaning.

The heading of this post could have had an entirely different meaning if I didn't clearly understand the difference between "your" and "you're", for example.

But then I see that the average person reads at the level of a 7th grader and feel that I may be in an ever shrinking minority.

How Do You Comfort a Grammar Nazi?

You pat them on the shoulder and say "there, their, they're".

Does It Matter?

Well, that's the 64 dollar question.

If the people who are reading your reviews and promotions and considering buying your products know they need an apostrophe but just don't know where they're going to put it, will it make one iota of difference if you're the same?

Here's a horrible thought: maybe they'll actually relate better to you if you are like them.

Maybe people just don't care.

I see so many miss-spelled words everywhere and yet there are hardly any platforms these days that don't include a spell checker. I often wonder if the writer just doesn't see the red underline, doesn't know what it means or simply doesn't care.

Many years ago, I had a company that sold a computer system running software that I'd written. This was pre-internet. All advertsing was offline. Our main competitor had taken out an expensive, full-page color magazine advertisement in which I discovered two spelling errors. I made several sales of our system by showing their ad to a prospect and basically saying "Software is much more complex than text. How can you trust their software if they can't write text without mistakes?"

What Do You Do?

If you don't understand the nuances of grammar, it's probably not your fault.

When I was at school and when my now grown-up children were at school, grammar was taught as part of the English curriculum and was the subject of tests and exams. This may not have been the case for you.

So use a tool like Grammarly, but when it shows you a correction, learn from it, understand it and memorize it. Honestly, the difference between "its" and "it's" isn't rocket science and you can learn it easily. And it's the same for most grammar rules.

Unless of course it just doesn't matter.

What do you think?

I'm really interested in hearing your (not you're) opinion.

Recent Comments

67

I utilize Grammarly due to my minor disability. Let's be honest grammar and spelling are very important aspects in business.
I have been guilty of reading my own work and not recognizing the error or reading it with the correction and not correcting the error on the paper. Oops!
Those who would like a friendly audit, send over your written details and I will proofread your content if I can help.
WE ARE IN IT TO WIN IT!

A nice offer, Natalie. Thank you.

Reply, I know you're an expert and don't require my feedback. However, as Kyle has indicated, I am trying to engage by touching bases. Tallyho.

Indeed, there would be many here you could help.

Yes, Phil Grammar matters.

Usually, I don't trust text with several grammatical and spelling errors. It sends a wrong signal. It is like meeting up at an important meeting at work in a wrinkled shirt and jeans.

I am not a native English speaking individual. But I have been exposed to the English language since I was born.
I was blessed to start learning English at school in 3rd grade. Our national tv network doesn't dub anything. Several years ago, I lived in the US, and English has been my "work language" all the way back since I started working.

I see English or my native language being butchered every day at work, in the news, almost everywhere, just as Alex says in another comment. It saddens me as it doesn't require much effort to get it right. All the tools are available with a click.

People don't seem to care that much anymore about correct spelling and grammar.

An example is a misplaced comma in a contractual text, which can significantly change the meaning of contractual requirements for a product with a considerable impact later, after product delivery. I know from experience.

Roy

So true, Roy. I see mistakes everywhere, from journalist headlines (let alone the body of the story) to legal documents.

It does matter to me. It should matter to everyone, but it does not.
Today English is going being butchered at an alarming rate and apparently it is OK with the younger generation.

IDK if that is a good thing or not. For me personally it is not, but I am a dwindling minority.

Alex

We should both be encouraged, Alex, by the number of people who have responded positively to this post.

It matters to me! I have seen analyses indicating that poor grammar results in poor conversion rates. For example, within the US, consumers perceive poor grammar as an indication that the author was not a US native and therefore may be less trustworthy (sorry I didn't write this, just read it!). Grammar matters!

I can totally understand that. Even worse is stuff that has obviously been computer translated from a foreign language.

So very true as well!

Indeed.

Very good Phil! In my line of work I always strive to teach my students how to properly understand and then use English grammar correctly.

I am always correct though? The basics of English grammar are easier enough to understand, but when we start diving into the lesser used tenses things can become considerably more complicated.

But... and it pains me to say this, I honestly don't think in this day and age that possessing perfect grammatical skills are so important anymore!

If I happen to come across a certain article when researching or just browsing and there are a lot of glaring basic grammatical errors in the first couple of paragraphs, normally I would roll my eyes, then check out one of the competitions articles.

However, if the article was something I was very interested in, more than likely I would read on as long as I found it useful, intriguing and engaging!

Obviously, I would love to read a perfect piece, which made perfect grammatical sense and has answered all of my questions and more... after all, is this not what we all strive to produce as bloggers?

But no one is perfect (is anything perfect for that matter)? And as we are writing for 10-12 year olds anyway, keeping things simple is always the best policy!

Also, so many are so used to using abbreviations on a daily basis on social media platforms these days, they forget how to use (if they were ever taught to in the beginning) correct grammar!

Saying this (sorry my friend, it has turned into a bit of an essay)! I can forgive the occasional grammatical mistake, but with the tools we have available, they should few and far between!

If one takes their (there, or is it they're) ? Businesses seriously, I do believe that grammar matters at the end of the day!

You must be having a fantastic breakfast now as I hit the hay... have you tried my bacon, egg and asparagus recipe yet??

Take care and catch up soon Phil!

Thanks for this well thought out reply, Nick and I agree with everything you say, except that I'm yet to see a useful, knowledgeable article that's also full of errors. The two don't go hand in hand. However, writing simply is important as getting your knowledge across is what matters in the end.

I haven't yet tried your breakfast recipe, I'm afraid.

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