|Photo by Brad Fults (Flickr)|
The U.S. Department of Education’s misspelling of W.E.B. Du Bois in a tweet and then its botched apology caused laughter and eye rolling among many people in both political parties. When I was working as a journalist, I got calls when I had a typo in my story or even worse, when there were typos in our headlines, (and there were). Typos and misspellings show a lack of attention to details as well as a “we don’t care what this looks like” attitude, even if you really do care and just did not have time, or the mistake just got through. (Which sometimes happens. Nobody’s perfect.)
Disruptive Communications asked 1,003 UK consumers in 2013 what they hate most about brands they follow in social media. The top answer was spelling or grammar mistakes, which 42.5 percent of consumers said bothered them. Gender did not make a difference either, as 38.9 percent of men and 39.6 percent of women said it bothered them.
A Harris poll conducted for dictionary.com’s 2015 Grammar Gripes found even higher percentages in the U.S. That poll found 74 percent of people between 18 and 34 were irritated when the found a mistake on social media, and 65 percent said improper grammar was their biggest pet peeve.
But bad grammar doesn’t just erode confidence and reputation. It can also have an impact on sales. A 2011 study found grammar and spelling errors reduce online sales by half. http://www.bbc.com/news/education-14130854 Bad reputation and eroded confidence has turned into lost money, and that’s something that speaks to everyone.
So what can you do to correct your grammar and spelling? Running spelling and grammar checks on everything you write can help, but they don’t catch everything. If you misspell a word but that misspelling is still a word in itself, spell check won’t catch that. It also doesn’t catch some grammar errors or plain awkward wording. Lifehack has some great reasons why we shouldn’t just rely on spell check to fix all our errors here.
So the next time your children ask why they must know the difference between a noun and verb, adjective and participle and how to use a semicolon tell them it could cost them in money and reputation. People are watching to see if grammar is used correctly. Good communication can mean the difference in many circumstances.
- Lifehack - 8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Just Rely On SpellCheck
- International Business Times - Grammar Gripes 2015: Americans Vent About Spelling, Typos And More
- Ragan's PR Daily - Spelling and grammar do matter, according to consumers
Learn about the author: Parker Jones