With the growth of content marketing everyone has become a writer. I was reading a blog about business leaders who stress out about writing, fearing that incorrect grammar will make them cyberspace laughingstocks. I struggle with that, because I think people are oblivious to the fact that they are making egregious grammatical errors.
Does it matter? The object is communication. If people are getting their points across, are a few grammatical errors along the way important? I think they are. When I see bad writing and punctuation by a so-called industry expert, I think of him/her as a little less expert.
The top five:
- The absolute worst: Me vs. I. A whole lot of people who should know better routinely bungle this one, looking smug and self-satisfied as they do it. He gave the gift to my brother and I. Wrong. It’s so easy. Take out the “my brother”—you wouldn’t say “He gave the gift to I”, would you? Of course, not. Therefore, the answer is “He gave the gift to (my brother) and me.” Do that little exercise before you say it and you’ll never bungle it again.
- Irregardless. This is simply not a word.
- It’s vs. its. I can’t understand why this is so hard for people. It’s is a contraction, a shortcut for it is. Its shows possession. Its color is blue. Simple.
- Your and you’re. This is another easy one. You’re is a contraction, a shortcut for you are. Your shows ownership, as in “your ball”.
- Fewer vs. less. Less refers to something that can’t be quantified and “fewer” to something that can. If you can count it, it’s fewer. The checkout line at the supermarket is always incorrect: 15 items or less should, of course, be 15 items or fewer. A few stores do get it right–kudos to The Berkeley Bowl!
Struggling with content marketing? Ask us–we’re writers @ Top of Mind Marketing.