Have you ever read a blog post and winced at the number of typos and grammatical errors in it? You don’t need to be a grammar geek to get annoyed by error-ridden writing. Misspelled words and grammar mistakes make content harder to read and can cause readers to bounce. Even worse, error-filled content can hurt your credibility and brand image.
When Bad Grammar Happens to Good Brands
Not all grammar mistakes make headlines – a missing comma in a tweet or a typo in a blog post is likely to go unnoticed by all but the most hard-core grammar nerds. However, some companies have committed grammar fails that are simply too glaring to ignore:
- Clothing retailer Old Navy had to replace thousands of college-themed T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Lets go.” You can root for your favorite team in a shirt with a missing apostrophe, but we don’t recommend wearing it to English class.
- Speaking of apostrophes, Victoria’s Secret made a high-profile blunder when they debuted the tagline for their Secret Body campaign: “You’ve never seen body’s like this.”
- British supermarket chain Tesco had to change the packaging of their orange juice due to a grammar flub. The cartons bragged that the juice came from the “most tastiest” oranges. Unfortunately for Tesco, that may also qualify as the “most worst” grammar.
Guarding Your Reputation
It’s normal to adopt a less-formal tone when you’re creating content for blogs or social media. However, this relaxed approach to writing doesn’t mean you should toss the rules of grammar aside. Content can be casual without being careless. If you want to be viewed as an expert and authority in your field, it’s important to maintain a professional image that shows attention to detail.
Proofreading-software company Grammarly put this notion to the test by analyzing the LinkedIn posts of several major companies. The results were intriguing:
- Pepsi was found to make four times as many writing errors as Coca-Cola.
- Facebook makes four times as many writing mistakes as Google.
Nobody is claiming that someone would choose Coke over Pepsi because the company uses better grammar. However, it’s possible that errors in your content can make it harder for readers to follow and it may even leave an impression that your company is less professional overall. Poor grammar can have an especially significant impact on small businesses that aren’t “household names.” When forming an initial impression about a business, customers can be more easily swayed by things like grammar mistakes.
An Ounce of Prevention
The English language is subject to hundreds of rules related to grammar, but certain mistakes seem to crop up again and again. Check your content for some of these common slip-ups before you publish:
- “You’re” vs. “your”: “You’re” is a contraction for “you are,” while “your” is a possessive pronoun.
- “It’s” vs “its”: “It’s” is a contraction for “it is,” while “its” is a possessive pronoun.
- Apostrophe abuse: Apostrophes are used to indicate contraction or possession. Don’t use an apostrophe to make a word plural.
- Comma confusion: Commas can be both underused and overused, and they make a big difference in the meaning of a sentence. Remember the classic example: “Let’s eat, Grandma!” compared to “Let’s eat Grandma!” One sentence invites Grandma to lunch, while the other sentence features her as the main course.
- “They’re”, “there” and “their”: These three little words are a minefield of potential grammar errors. Let’s straighten it out once and for all:
- “They’re”- a contraction for “they are”
- “there”- indicates a place
- “their”- a possessive pronoun
Keep Your Grammar In Check
Creating the kind of content that draws readers in isn’t always easy. It’s vital to not let poor grammar cast a shadow on your thoughts and ideas. If you keep an eye out for some of the most common grammar mistakes, you’ll be ready to catch potential errors before they damage your brand’s credibility or make your content harder to read.