April 14, 2011 Jason

Does Grammar Really Matter?

Let me preface this – I am not a spelling nazi.  You will find spelling mistakes in my blog, in my tweets, and in my facebook posts – and I can almost guarantee I can find them in yours, too.  While proper grammar and spelling are important, the world isn’t going to end if you send that email out with a few typos, a tweet with “to” instead of “too,” or your facebook update says “your” when you meant “you’re.” And, let’s face it – the English language has some pretty screwy rules.

Over the past few days, I’ve noticed an alarming amount of errors – spelling, grammatical, or improper word use (ok, not alarming – but of the five mediums I read yesterday, three of them had glaring errors.)  As a copywriter, maybe I’m a bit overly sensitive to this – love to know your thoughts.

The beauty of our language is it’s openness to wordplay.  A good turn of phrase, the right voice in an article, or a witty pun can add character to the word on a page.  Our language is flexible, but there are still rules that should be followed.   Roger’s learned this the hard way a few years ago – read: the comma that cost $1,000,000.  My favourite (clean) example of the value of a comma comes in the difference between these two sentences:

Slow, children crossing.

Slow children crossing.

Same words, but pretty different meanings.

Would you buy anything from these companies?

I do know that these guys are great at what they do, but sending out a notepad with two different spellings of the same word is not putting your best foot forward.





Maybe spellcheck should be used on subject lines?


This was a paid article in the Times Colonist yesterday, and is probably the main reason for this post today. These folks paid big, big money for this ad.  Full page in the first section of the paper probably set them back around $6000 – but the copy reads as if it was written by a dyslexic seventh grader.

That second sentence is a mouthful – too bad they couldn’t afford any commas. (Not that the first sentence is any better.)

You can check out the whole article here: Do you have a lucky postal code?

Canadian postal codes turn up cash for residents
By Keith Berrymore
Times Colonist
13 Apr 2011

UMS – Canadian residents who find their postal code on the Distribution List will feel like they just won the lottery. That’s because for the next 48 hours, full uncut sheets of never circulated U.S. $2 bills are being released by the World Reserve…read more…






And lastly, here’s a pic of the instructions on a bag of grass seed – insure and ensure are frequently misused, but you don’t usually see this on product packaging.  Their meanings are quite different…unless these folks are going to pay me to seed my lawn.  Now I just need to get someone to pay me to mow it!



Other than the “referals” notepad, I found these examples in the last few days.  Most of what I read is online, but spelling/grammar doesn’t seem to be as important in this realm.  Maybe the rest of the print world is heading that way, too?

Does spelling or grammar matter to you when you choose the company you’re going to use?  Do you think less of a company that has errors on their copy, or with the advent of “txt spk” and internet chat, has it become a nonissue?  Am I being pedantic or practical?

When you choose a company to write what you need written, is it really worth going as cheap as possible?

Now I’ve got to run, since my postal code has been deemed a “lucky” postal code.  If I don’t act quickly, they’re just going to keep waiting until I call.

(If you find any errors in this article – and you probably will – feel free to leave a comment…)

If you’re looking for a copywriter that can insure you speel eeverything korrectly, Im you’re d00d.




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