Are spelling and grammar still important?
Before I go any further I would like to point out that my writing is not perfect (which I’m sure will become clear)!
However, in this day and age of texting, what’s app-ing, emailing, social media etc, we’ve all had to become writers to some extent. Back in the day, if you wanted to discuss the latest gossip with your bff, you picked up the phone and spent the next hour blethering to each other without worrying about how to spell ‘that annoying neighbour’ or if it was they’re, there or their fault.
Now, at this point, I must also stress there is a huge difference between writing as yourself and as a representative of a business. Let’s forget about business for now and let’s say you’re writing a Facebook post and you accidentally type ‘there’ instead of ‘their’. It’s not the end of the world: the reader still understands the sentence and you know the difference anyway. Right?
We are all occasionally guilty of the odd typo or grammar slip-up but - and this is a BIG but (no jokes please) - the problem lies when the sentence doesn’t make sense and, possibly, means something completely different. Here are a couple of examples:
“I love cooking my kids and my dog.” If you don’t want to get arrested you should probably add a comma here. “I love cooking, my kids and my dog.” Your offspring and pooch are now safe.
“I’m going to whales on holiday this year.” Yes, I know you’re probably going to Llandudno or Aberystwyth on holiday and not spending a week swimming around the sea with a pod of enormous marine mammals.
“Who cares? You know what I mean.” Yes, I do - after reading it a third time.
This brings me to why it’s REALLY important in business.
Your customers won’t read it three times. While text abbreviations and slang words are widely accepted in many situations, poor spelling and grammar skills, fairly or unfairly, can reflect your business’ professionalism and have an impact on the way others see your brand.
People are going to judge your competence as a business based on your writing, even if they don’t realise they’re doing it, which can lose you custom.
If you are writing for business, ALWAYS check it before you release it into the world. If you know your spelling and grammar skills are not your strong point, ask someone else to check it or use a free tool, such as Grammarly, which can be installed on any device.
Finally, if you’re writing an informal piece, like a blog or a social media post, don’t be scared to have a little fun with it!