I first posted this article from my LinkedIn personal profile after a day of walking around the streets of Auckland noticing random and very unnecessary apostrophes included in words, and also the distinct absence of apostrophes where they were indeed needed. I was thinking that maybe the world doesn’t care anymore about good grammar. Perhaps I’m just an old fashioned stickler for correct punctuation. Then two days later the BBC ran on story on The Apostrophiser, a grammar vigilante who has been going around the streets of Bristol at night for years correcting and cleaning up public signs in the city. I was overjoyed; I am not alone!
However, I’m still at a loss as to why we are faced with plummeting punctuation standards on a daily basis. In my opinion, good grammar is important for making a good first impression, and, consequently, is good for business. I would be very interested to hear what you have to say once you’ve read my blog.
“You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression”, Maggie Eyre
We form opinions about people all the time. Establishing a good first impression is important, whether this is in a social or a professional context. We generally want people to like us, we may want someone to employ us, and we may want consumers to buy from us.
There are many factors we consider when we meet someone for the first time. Depending on the situation, we may be evaluating the person’s age, culture, physical appearance, accent, clothing, posture, facial expression, eye contact, etc. Grammar is also important, especially if you are presenting yourself via email or letter when none of the physical cues are present. I’ve read numerous résumés littered with grammatical errors and a noticeable absence of punctuation. If someone didn’t know the difference between except and accept after 20 years of education, then I’m not comfortable with that learning curve, and I’m definitely not confident in the applicant’s professional ability to perform.
Bad grammar is bad for business
I know this from first-hand experience with over 20 years working in creative advertising agencies. Months are spent by a team of strategy, creative and account handling experts producing campaign ideas and content. It takes even longer to earn the trust and respect of a client. All these efforts can be shattered in a matter of moments when work is presented to the client with one typo. Not only are reputations tarnished and the team’s credibility ruined, but it can, literally, cost an agency the account.
I also know that bad grammar is bad for business because, as a consumer, do I want to buy from a company calling themselves BBQ’S & MORE who can’t even spell BARBEQUE correctly? (Please note, no apostrophe in BBQS and no Q in the actual word BARBECUE – if the name wasn’t abbreviated it would be written BARBECUES AND MORE.) We are confronted with plummeting punctuation standards everyday by numerous companies selling their products and services. If a company doesn’t care enough to get their grammar correct, how do I know they care enough to manufacture a barbecue of quality?
It’s tough being part of the #GrammarPolice
It is tough because sometimes I feel like it’s a losing battle. But if the #GrammarPolice don’t protect the English language, who will?
I also want to help businesses succeed in making a good first impression and maintaining a professional image with error-free and punctuation-perfect publications. I hope that any grammar sceptic reading this blog now agrees that good grammar is important!