The title of the post no doubt caught your eye—and you, like me, may have noticed an increasing number of spelling and grammar errors in content published both in print and on the web. Despite a seemingly increasing disregard for polished writing, I contend that it’s more important than ever to maintain high standards in the way we present our written material.
With the advent of short-form communication platforms like text messaging and Twitter, there’s been an explosion in the use of abbreviation and acronyms—plus, elements like correct spelling, punctuation and grammar seem to be in danger of being forgotten. Sure, it’s natural for language to evolve and for regular texters and tweeters to develop shortcuts to make their lives easier. That being said, I think we should be wary of accepting this as the norm.
I admit to being an old-fashioned sort of man. And if you’ve seen my post Would You Let Your Daughter Marry A Blogger?, you’ll soon see the angle from which I’m coming. I’m not one of those grammar pedants who scream every time an apostrophe is misplaced, but I do feel that we can let ourselves down if we ignore these small but vital details.
Whether you’re writing for your business or blogging for fun, paying attention to the basics should be an integral part of your approach. Here’s why:
I visited a website today (I won’t name names) and, in the first paragraph, I came across a spelling mistake and two glaring grammatical errors. At that point it didn’t really matter to me what I was reading; instead, I simply assumed that the writer didn’t know what he or she was talking about, closed the page and went back to the search results to try somewhere else. You are unlikely to consider someone as an authority in a particular field if that person can’t even check copy before publishing.
In today’s increasingly noisy digital landscape, we all need to be clear in what we say. A simple mistake can change the meaning of words—often with amusing (or worse, potentially disastrous)—consequences for a business. Interested in a few cringe-inducing examples? Look no further than the Spelling Disasters Blog!
Reading someting with spellimg mistaks can be distrakting and stop you from absorbbing the information. Whoops—sorry! I meant to say that reading something with spelling mistakes can be distracting and stop you from absorbing the information. I rest my case.
If you’re reading something peppered with glaring mistakes, do you feel that the writer is knowledgeable and has thoroughly researched the topic? I certainly don’t—plus, I’m more likely to think the piece has been dashed off quickly and without any care.
We all consume content for a variety of reasons—to learn, to be entertained and even to find prospective service providers, clients or vendors. Should you come across information written by that person or company that’s riddled with errors, you’re likely to have decreased confidence in their ability to perform the work you need.
What do you think? Do you feel that writing standards are slipping and that this is a vital area on which we should continue to concentrate?
Tony Hastings is a blogger and the man behind The Top 10 Blog, a place where you will hopefully be informed, entertained and amused with articles about all sorts of topics, particularly those relating to social media and technology. Feel free to connect with Tony on Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin.
Image by Gamma Man via Creative Commons