Tag Archives: Grammar advice

Can Improving Your Grammar Lead to a Promotion?

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I recently had the chance to read an article penned by Grammarly CEO Brad Hoover.  Writing to mark National Grammar Day on March 4, Hoover comments on the lack of attention given to grammar in the workplace.  He highlights that professionals who actually do pay attention to the rules taught in elementary English class prove to outperform and eclipse their colleagues in areas related to professional development, and are more likely to receive promotions and merit-based pay increases than the “bad grammar” group.

The fact that attention to grammar has seemingly declined amongst the masses is not novel news.  Considering the fact that everyone works on the fly—hammering out a quick email while waiting in line at the grocery store, sending a text before a meeting starts—the informality that has snuck into our language has permeated every facet of our existence.

Even within my own business, I often receive emails from business partners and clients that leave me no choice but to pick up the phone and call them, if only to make sure I got the message right and didn’t decipher their email incorrectly.  Now, I’m not judging, there is a reason why individuals come to my business for help and I welcome them.  However, there is a point where I do judge and I know I am not alone.

The article profiles Kyle Wiens, CEO of Fixit, who wrote in a blog post that he absolutely “refuses to hire people who use poor grammar.”  Called everything from an elitist to a mean businessperson, I have to say that I agree with Wiens, especially given the fact that I have experienced numerous grammar faux pas from individuals who apply to my company to fill a writing and editing position.

No joke! I just finished a round of hiring where I received cover letters addressed to the CEO of “Grammer Chic, Inc.”  and resumes completely littered with typos, bad punctuation, etc.  You know where those resumes go?  Directly in File 13.  While some hiring managers might take to the Internet to do a bit of checking in order to sift through a pile of resumes, all that I have to do is separate the resumes that are grammatically correct and proofread from the rest.  Think of it as thinning the herd via the rules of grammar.

I think this alone speaks to the fact that bad grammar can hurt your career.  But you don’t have to be applying for a position at a professional writing company for this grammar faux pas to hurt you.  Hoover takes his study a step further and explains the following:

  • “Grammarly reviewed 100 LinkedIn profiles of native English-speakers in the consumer packaged goods industry.  Each professional had worked for no more than three employers over the first 10 years of his or her career.  Half were promoted to director level or above within those 10 years, the other half were not.”
  • Of that group, Hoover and his team found that individuals who had fewer grammar errors in their profile rose to higher positions.  For instance, individuals with one to four promotions “over their 10 year careers made 45 percent more grammar errors than those with six to nine promotions in the same time frame.”

Interesting stuff, huh?  I realize that this is just one sample and a small one at that, but it leads me to believe that there is something tied to the idea that professional success is had when attention to detail is delivered.  Moreover, hiring managers note that individuals who display correct grammar in written and verbal communication also tend to excel in critical thinking and score higher on intellectual aptitude tests, making them more likely job candidates.

Now, I’m not making the claim that if you mess up it’s or its that it’s the end of your career, but I am saying many companies do consider the whole package.  For instance, the professional who dresses sharp and shows up on time loses all of their credibility if they open their mouth at a board meeting and do not have the ability to speak properly.  The same could be said for the professional who sends an email to a prospective client that is rife with spelling errors and lack of capitalization.  This is something that people notice and call upon when making hiring, promotion and business decisions.  So I encourage you, if you feel that you are constantly being looked over at work or can’t score the interviews that you really want in your job search, don’t blame it on the economy.  Take a step back and consider your grammar.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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National Grammar Day: Ain’t Got No Good Reason Why Not to Celebrate

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Today is National Grammar Day and word nerds across the country are celebrating.  There are grammar haiku contests on Twitter, a litany of grammar-related memes on Facebook and it is likely that students will be subject to the whims of their over-eager English teachers on this most glorious grammar-focused day.

The word grammar comes from the Greek word grammatikē technē, which means “letters.” The word is related to all Greek-derived words that refer to writing; for instance, the Greek word for photography means “writing with light.”  Grammar, as a form of study, entered the English language sometime in the 1300s and it was more or less based on the concept of learning in general.  It took a few centuries for the field to be narrowed down and applied specifically to classical language and literature study.  Today, per the Macmillan Dictionary, grammar means, “the set of rules that describe the structure of a language and control the way that sentences are formed.”

But what is National Grammar Day exactly?  And why should anyone care? William Safire, the famed American author, journalist and speechwriter for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, said, “Only in grammar can you be more than perfect.”  Considering his boss was far from perfect, figuratively speaking, I would say that this statement is true.  So, with that idea in mind, is National Grammar Day a holiday based on the goal of attaining grammatical perfection?

The day itself was only established in 2008 by Martha Brockenbrough, who is the founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.

Sounds like an organization with a lofty cause and indeed, it is.  The organization’s blog states, “There are huge problems in this world, and then there are problems that can be solved by everyday people with red pens and a little moxie.  The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar is for pen-toters appalled by wanton displays of Bad English. (And we’re not talking about Bad English, the band, although their song, ‘Heaven is a 4 letter word’ needs a hyphen.”

I like their mindset!

And here is a bit more background.  National Grammar Day is celebrated on March 4th of the year in an effort to play on the idea of “March Forth” in the name of good grammar.  Plus, “March Forth!” in and of itself is a complete sentence.

Personally, I believe that there is a huge disconnect in the world of grammar.  You have people who care about it deeply, like Brockenbrough, and then you have people who knowingly and proudly slaughter the rules of grammar all over the Internet. So what does this say exactly about our nation’s relationship with its language?

Richard Turner, the self-professed “Grammar Curmudgeon,” made a statement before his passing in 2011 that I feel accurately assesses our culture’s attitude toward grammar: “Grammar Checker—A software program that is not needed by those who know grammar and virtually useless for those who don’t.”

While I agree with Turner’s words, I do believe that events like National Grammar Day have the ability to raise awareness about the importance of writing and language and their role in the preservation of our culture.  Language and words should be celebrated.  Moreover, good grammar can be fun and its proper delivery shouldn’t be something deserving of an eye roll and a yawn.

So, in honor of National Grammar Day, I encourage everyone to “March Forth!” and engage in a bit of grammar vigilantism.  Correct the Facebook status updates of your friends and instruct them on the difference between to, two and too, use the hashtag #GrammarDay unabashedly if you highlight errors in someone else’s tweet and unapologetically split infinitives—you owe it to your language.   Consider it public service.

And if anyone accuses you of being a Grammar Nazi explain to them that it’s just your way of celebrating a very important National Holiday.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services.  For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.  We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in content writing tips and give a “like” to our Facebook page.  Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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Social Media Grammar Gaffes: How to Embarrass Yourself Online – Part 2

I recently penned a blog post regarding the sorry state of grammar online and the response that I received was so considerable that I decided to write on this topic again.  I have to admit, it was somewhat refreshing to receive so much feedback, if only for the fact of realizing that there are many grammarians out there dedicated to the cause of good grammar.  And they are watching.

So, in my last post I commented that it is somewhat appalling when we see professional people who so willingly and unapologetically destroy the English language when posting to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and the like.  I based this tendency on two things, either a.) people don’t proofread, or b.) people don’t care.

Your Chance at Public Service: Stop Hurting the Eyes of Former English Majors!

So, to members of these groups I offer a list of the most prevalent grammar gaffes made online.  I invite you to read and learn, and even if you only implement one correction in your social media posts, I will feel happy knowing that I was able to do a little something to clean up the Internet.

  • Its and It’s: I admit, here is one grammar gaffe that is easy to mix up, especially if you are typing quickly.  However, just as it’s easy to mix up, it is also easy to fix.  An apostrophe typically will indicate possession but “it’s” is also a contraction for it is.  So therefore, “It’s time for lunch” is correct, as is, “Its coat was sleek and soft.”
  • You’re and Your: This one is a big problem too and frankly, when I see it misused online, I have the same reaction that I experience when someone drags their fingernails across a chalkboard.  This is also a possessive pronoun, just like its and it’s. You’re is a contraction of you are.  So, with that being said, “Your mom is awesome” is correct, as is, “You’re the best sister ever.”
  • To, Too and Two: Alright, now we are dealing with three separate words! Eek!  Don’t panic though, this is really simple.  To is a preposition. Two is a number.  Too is a synonym for also.  So, these three sentences are correct: “It is a long way to New York from L.A”; “I will take two donuts”; “Why don’t you throw some cheese on the sandwich, too.”
  • There, They’re and Their: People, pay attention here.  This is important because it will save you from looking like an idiot on social media.  These three words are homonyms, meaning they all sound alike but have different meanings.  There means in or at a place.  Their is a plural possessive pronoun.  And they’re is a contraction for they are.  As such, these three sentences are correct: “There are many things to do before quitting time”; “Everyone deserves their fair share for working a full day”; “They’re completely crazy!”
  • Rules for beginning a sentence, and ending one: There is no way around this.  You need to start a sentence with a capital letter and end it with some form of punctuation, be it a period, a question mark or an exclamation point.  Furthermore, you can’t end a sentence with a colon or a semi-colon, so don’t try it.
  • Punctuation, generally.  I defer to that popular meme on Facebook for this one.  Namely, that punctuation saves lives.

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There are many more grammar gaffes that need to be covered.  However, I feel that a Part 3 is required in this public service message, as I have given grammar abusers plenty to think about and implement with this post.  So now go, use these new skills and impress your friends, co-workers and the nameless, faceless masses on Twitter.  Because remember, no matter where you go or what you do, a grammarian is watching.

To learn more about what you can do to improve grammar on the Internet, contact the team at Grammar Chic for any sort of writing or editing assistance.  We are happy to lend you our eyes and provide the guidance you need to look awesome, no matter if you are writing a tweet, a blog post or a manuscript.  Visit our website, call 803-831-7444 or email info@grammarchic.net.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc!

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Writing for Social Media: When Bad Grammar Happens to Good People

Grammar Chic Social Media Grammar Blog

Social media has definitely opened up the floodgates of communication and provided limitless opportunity for people to connect while also affording businesses new chances to brand themselves.  However, social media offers another opportunity to its users.  Namely, to look like a grammar idiot—like someone who completely bypassed elementary English class on their way to log on to Twitter or Facebook.

Yes, I am talking to you.  The person who makes the statement, “Their isnt a better show on TV then Modern Famile.”  Or the person that tells another, “Your Welcome.”  Frankly, these examples make me cringe and seeing that someone doesn’t understand the difference between there, their and they’re is quite honestly my biggest pet peeve.

#BadGrammar, #CommonErrors and #SloppyWriting

Now, I am not a complete Grammar Nazi and I realize everyone makes mistakes, especially when you are trying to quickly update your status or type out a 140 character tweet.  But I think what bothers me the most is that the mistakes being made are ones that people should automatically realize prior to publishing, because you know, the majority of us did attend English class in 3rd grade.  We should know better.  So, this leads me to believe one of two things:

  1. People don’t care.
  2. People don’t proofread.

At the same time, I also believe that, when it comes to social media writing, there is a definite divide over when good grammar is absolutely imperative and when maybe it’s less important.  For instance, while I fear for future generations when they actually have to sit in a cube at a corporate job and type out a well-worded email to their client or their boss and feel perplexed when they realize they can’t use OMG, plz, np and tu as acronyms, I also think that those individuals are going to have to figure it out one way or the other if they want to have any sort of real career.  Instead, the group that I worry about most is the current business owners and professionals who recognize social media platforms as part of their marketing plan.  Here is a group of busy people who knowingly take to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms and destroy the English language at the same time they hope to bring in new businesses.

Between you and me, the business that tries to lure me in with a post rife with grammar issues only inspires me to do one thing and that is run the opposite way screaming.

Grammar Drama

I am not trying to say that I never make mistakes or find a typo too late.  But even when considering my own business and the spelling of my company’s name, “Grammar Chic, Inc.,” it must be said that I realized I could possibly lose out on business because of a typo.  This is why I not only own the domain names related to the correct spelling of my company’s name, but also all of the incorrect spellings, too.

GrammerChic.com, GrammerChic.net, etc.

My point: bad grammar can be expensive to business; no matter if you are talking about domain names that honor misspellings or if you are considering the impression a grammatically incorrect post makes on followers.

Respecting Language Earns Respect on Social Media

So, I get it, these spelling mistakes, they are just on social media.  So it’s no biggie because here is a platform that is ever changing and people forget quickly.

Or do they?

Personally, I think that if a business consistently showcases bad grammar or a professional person constantly puts out posts or information rife with errors, it can haunt them.  True, you might be able to delete a post after you realize you messed up “its” and “it’s.” But if that post has been retweeted or shared or promoted by others in any way, it’s ultimately permanent and your grammar error will stay alive and well in cyberspace forever.

From my personal perspective as an owner of a writing and editing company, I believe that you must proof and review every single item that you create.  No matter if it is a press release that is being sent out over the wire or a tweet talking about your company’s latest promotion.  If you’re not doing this, you could face trouble and if you simply don’t care, I can tell you that someone out there—your boss, a client or even a competitor—is going to, and they are most likely going to call you out on it.

Simply put, no one wants to look like an idiot.  You might be a high powered professional wearing a $3,000 suit, but the moment you tweet to all of your followers that “Irregardless of what the criticks say, ABC Company noes what their doing!” you have ultimately been placed in the social media corner with a dunce cap on.

The moral of the story: bad grammar not only hinders your social media marketing efforts, it has the ability to crush any credibility or authority you may have in your respective field.   If you are worried about what your social media posts not only say, but also how they reflect your grammar skills, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. for help.  Not only do we offer proofreading and editing services; we have the ability to work with you to create social media content that is polished, strategic and on-point.  Call 803-831-7444 or email info@grammarchic.net right now.

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