I firmly believe that punctuation and grammar are essential for great copy.They demonstrate that you’re able to express your words in a coherent way and that you have an ear for the rhythms and nuances of the English language.
Using grammar and punctuation correctly not only gives your writing structure and ensures it makes sense, it also helps the reader to ‘hear’ how your words sound.
So why is it so important?
Using incorrect punctuation can radically change the meaning of your message. For example, ‘let’s eat Grandma’ and ‘I like cooking my family and spending time outdoors’ both sound much less scary when commas are used correctly!
When your punctuation is wrong, your words can become ambiguous and hard to understand. And creating confusion is a guaranteed way to isolate potential customers.
Creates trust issues
Seeing grammatical errors raises concern over trust and credibility. Online, customers may be more wary, thinking your communication is spam or phishing and they may not take anything you have to say seriously.
Analysis of UK online purchasing habits in 2011 demonstrated that as many as 50% of customers will not buy from a websiteif they detect even one spelling error on a page (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14130854). That’s a huge amount of business to loose over a thoughtless mistake.
And on a practical note, mistakes in punctuation can affect the functionality of a web page, potentially rendering it useless.
Shows a lack of professionalism
Lastly (and probably the most important point), copy containing grammatical errors and punctuation mistakes make the brand look ignorant and careless.
There are many people out there (myself included) who judge a brand on their punctuation. A lack of attention to detail in its communications indicates a general apathy around the business’ work. When a company uses copy that’s badly punctuated or grammatically incorrect, it is saying that it doesn’t really care. And that is incredibly damaging to a brand.
Some people love to hate: On Facebook, the page ‘The Grammar Police’, which includes real life examples of incorrect grammar and punctuation, has nearly 160,000 likes, while on Pinterest, the board ‘bad grammar, punctuation, etc.’ has been pinned 269 times. By putting business information out there that is grammatically incorrect could not only lose you customers, but there’s a very real chance you’ll end up humiliated.
How to avoid punctuation mistakes:
- Check your punctuation as you write. The Well-Tempered Sentenceby Karen Elizabeth Gordon, or the Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation are excellent resources to have handy. Or websites such as grammarly.co.uk are equally valuable.
- Use a style guide for your brand to ensure consistency. Some words are grammatically correct written a number of ways. Stick to one way of writing it to avoid looking sloppy.
- Take a break before you proof read your work. Fresh eyes will more likely pick up any mistakes.
- Have a friend check your work. Sometimes being too close to your text means mistakes slip through.
For workshops and training on grammar, contact us now.