Grammar and spelling mistakes can cost you big bucks

On his late-night tv show Jay Leno used to show newspaper clippings with ridiculous grammar and spelling mistakes. I would laugh out loud until my sides ached. That’s all well and good for entertainment, but it’s not a laughing matter when your business copy contains errors that can result in lost sales or misunderstandings.

The use of social and digital media has revolutionized how we communicate. But as we quickly pound out emails, letters, and articles computer technology has contributed to careless mistakes in grammar and spelling. Spell check doesn’t always work. And texting might just be the biggest culprit in the corruption of the English language.

Are you guilty of any of these common 10 mistakes?

  • Misusing the apostrophe with its. ex: a) “It’s” means it is. It’s a great supplement for providing antioxidants. b) “Its” indicates possession. ex: The box is missing its label.
  • Using the personal pronoun “I” instead of the direct object “me” ex. The deal was closed by Jim and I. It should read: The deal was closed by Jim and me.
  • A lot is misspelled as one word–alot–a lot of the time. But it is two words. ex: There is a lot of product on the pallet.
  • “All right” is also two words, not alright. Alright is not a word! ex: It’s all right to come in late tomorrow.
  • Maintenance does not contain the word “maintain.”
  • Minuscule does not contain the word “mini.”
  • Using their instead of there or they’re. a) “Their” refers to something owned by a group, ex. Their vitamin A label is inferior to ours. b) “There “indicates a place, ex. It’s over there. c) “They’re” is the contraction for they are. They are all fine.
  • Your vs. you’re. a) “Your” is possessive, ex.  This is your sales report. b) “You’re” is the contraction for you are, ex. You’re the best sales rep in our department.
  • Assure vs. insure vs. ensure. a) To “assure” means to say with confidence. I assure you it will be on time. b) To “ensure” means to make certain. This product will ensure that you sleep more soundly. c) To “insure” means to protect your health, car, home, etc. by paying an insurance company.

It’s easy to make these mistakes and others. But it’s crucial to promote yourself and your business in the best light possible. If your sales copy contains errors, customers are more likely to engage with a business that isn’t perceived as being sloppy or careless. If your company is promising good health, a boost in energy, or better sleep,  etc. I’m more likely to choose a company that promotes itself with excellent copy and a clear and informative message.

Call today to see how Cohn Writing Solutions can help ensure that your copy is sparkling clean and meaningful.

Barbra Cohn


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