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How to look unprofessional, lazy and dumb

I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with words. More specifically, I have a thing about bad grammar and spelling mistakes.  Here’s a brilliant example…

Er, I beg to differ.

Writing is about communication. I don’t care whether it’s an email, text message, Facebook comment, tweet, website or tattoo – if you make spelling mistakes and your grammar’s terrible, it’s going to get in the way of what you want to say. People will notice.  This was quoted on the Facebook page I judge you when you use poor grammar...

"Different business, clients, staff and so on, all bring different layers of bureaucracy, of which we always aim to adhere to. There will also be that portion of unforeseen urgent/important work, for which we just have to drop our tools and tend to."

I have absolutely no idea what that means. Clear communication has been drowned in a sea of commas, unnecessary words and precariously hanging prepositions.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a grammar snob. I make my living as a copywriter and blogger and hey, we break the rules all the time. We write in a conversational style using slang, contractions, incomplete sentences, dangling prepositions, and Oxford commas. We also have an over-fondness for bullet points and pepper our prose with a liberal sprinkling of ellipses…

My old English teacher probably wouldn’t approve. (Sorry, Mrs Evans.)

Fortunately, I’m not writing for Mrs Evans. I’m speaking to a target audience, engaging them personally and professionally.  Slavishly following the rules will make me sound pompous. The conglomerates for whom I am writing will transfer their patronage to my numerous competitors. See? Anyway, I digress.

The point is, in order to break the rules effectively, you need to know the rules. Backwards, forwards and sideways. At best, carelessly bad grammar and spelling can change the meaning of what you want to say. At worst, it makes you look stupid. You lose credibility and your customer goes elsewhere.

If in doubt, hire a professional writer. Actually, hire me.