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Adventures in bad grammar

Between text messaging, email, Facebook and Twitter we tend to place less and less value on correct grammar, punctuation, spelling and usage in today’s social-media driven culture.

Maybe I’m a bit overzealous when it comes to grammar because I have a marketing agency, but when did a lot become alot? And apparently your best friend is now your bestfriend. But it doesn’t stop there. You are now going too work, and when you get their, your going to a meeting. Words are being extendedddddd and stretcheddddd outtttttt for nooooo reasonnnnnn. Sentences are running together, words are being smashed together and proper nouns are being ignored.

My recent favorite tweet: “knowledge is definately power.” (How ironic.)

Is the social-media driven culture prompting a paradigm shift? Or, on the flip side, is this complete grammar mayhem, which promotes brand erosion?

Here are some real life advertising examples that prompt such a question:

(A banner outside of a mattress store.)

(An online banner ad from a well-known travel agency.)

error 3

(A favorite breakfast place of many Americans.)

So, although we all take grammar shortcuts every once in a while, it is important to remember that if your shortcut makes it to the billboard, magazine cover, door poster or email to a potential investor, you run the risk of eroding your brand.

That being said, one of the easiest ways to improve your writing is to remember to take a few minutes to proofread for simple mistakes. We all know we should do it, but it seems to consistently be pushed to the bottom of the “to do” list.

It is helpful to think of all your writing as an advertisement because everything you write represents you and your business. Even a simple email should be edited for typos, spelling mistakes and grammar. Make sure you are using the right forms of you’re/your, their/they’re/there, to/too, etc. Double-check to be sure that you have capitalized all proper nouns and that you haven’t accidentally capitalized any random words.

There are worse things in life than forgetting to proofread but a little extra double-checking and editing goes a long way to maintaining or improving your company’s image and showing that you care about how you represent yourself and, in turn, your clients.

(Editor’s Note: A Rachael Ray magazine cover that was originally part of this blog post has been removed because it was proven to be a hoax.)


  1. Mary Ann,

    Couldn’t have said it better!

    I particularly like your advice to “think of everything you write as an advertisement” for your business.

  2. I even found “it’s” for the possessive form in the IRS 1040 instructions.

  3. Oh no! You’d think the IRS could do some proofreading! Thanks for the comments!